Photo by the PBA Media Bureau
Good news for the San Miguel. Bad news for the Hotshots
In case you haven't noticed, the San Miguel Beermen were playing with an unhealthy crew with Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross playing through injuries during the Beermen's playoff run. In fact, Alex Cabagnot was hospitalized the night before their clinching Game 5 victory against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the semifinals. On the other hand, Chris Ross has been out of the starting unit as he came off the bench while nursing his thigh injury.
After a disappointing performance to open the best-of-7 championship series against the Magnolia Hotshots where Ross scored the only point of the entire bench of Leo Austria in a game that Magnolia won, Chirs Ross was reinstated into the starting unit for Game 2 and the Beermen benefited from it. Sure, the two-time Finals MVP only scored 5 points in 34 minutes of action but what made him so useful was his passing ability as evident by his 10 assists. He also had 4 rebounds and 2 steals. An all-around performance for a guy who isn't 100% healthy, just yet, right?
According to Ross, Game 2 was the best game he felt since getting hurt.
And that's actually a warning for the Magnolia Hotshots as the series heads into Game 3 this coming Easter Sunday.
If San Miguel can actually win while playing with a depleted crew, what more if both Cabagnot and Ross are already healthy by Game 3?
With the PBA on a Holy Week break, this could benefit both teams to allow their bodies to heal up in time for Game 3 and beyond. This is an important break especially for the Beermen because the healthier their players are, the harder for their opponents to stop them. And who knows? We might actually see Chris Ross play his best game this conference in Game 3 where the Beermen try to take a 2-1 lead which will move them 2 wins away from their 4th consecutive All-Filipino championship.
The good news for Magnolia though, they've already beaten the Beermen once this series which means that they still have a shot at an upset. However, with Chris Ross reaching 100% health, the job becomes harder than it is already and in fact, the Hotshots might need to put more defensive pressure on Ross because if you've watched Game 2, he was almost unstoppable with the ball in his hands and yes, he's great at creating scoring opportunities for his teammates.