Since the Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer dropped its last two games, Fil-Am playmaker Chris Ross has been in playoff mode.
The 6-2 Ross averaged 23.5 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and the same number of steals to lead SMB to back-to-back wins over Rain or Shine and the streaking Barangay Ginebra, respectively.
“The playoff mode has to come early, and I just want to be aggressive for my team, look for my shots, but it’s a total team effort,” Ross said, whose scintllating effort in the Beermen’s last two games earned him the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of Sept. 4-10.
The 32-year-old Ross bested Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, TNT’s Jayson Castro and San Miguel Beer teammate June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos for the weekly citation.
Just a week after scoring only four points and turning the ball over five times in San Miguel’s 90-79 loss to Alaska in Pampanga, Ross took it upon himself to get better in the Beermen’s remaining games in the Governors’ Cup.
And he did just last Wednesday against Rain or Shine when he knocked down five triples on the way to scoring a personal conference-best 27 points to carry San Miguel to a 103-96 win.
Four days later, Ross connived with Alex Cabagnot, new import Terrence Watson, Santos and Fajardo as the Beermen halted the Barangay Ginebra Kings’ 7-game winning run, 107-103. He finished the game with 20 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals to deal a reality check on the Kings, who nonetheless, remain at top spot with their 7-2 card.
The two victories vaulted San Miguel to a tie with TNT at fourth spot, reviving its top four hopes that rewards a twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs.
San Miguel takes a five-day break, before returning to action on Saturday when it tangles with winless KIA at the Mall of Asia Arena.