Chris Ross took on the role of scorer and playmaker while Jericho Cruz was the closer as San Miguel defeated Barangay Ginebra 95-82 on Friday night to get back on track in the PBA PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ross scored a game-high 22 points, making 6 of 9 three-pointers. He led San Miguel’s early run to build a 24-point lead. Later, when Ginebra threatened and cut the lead to just 4 points at 75-79, Ross spearheaded the counterattack as SMB pulled away for good.
Cruz scored 9 of his 16 points in the final 5 minutes to seal the win for the Beermen.
With the victory, San Miguel snapped a two-game slide and improved to 4-3, tied for 5th place with the Gin Kings as they push for a playoff spot.
“We’re playing Ginebra and we know they always have a run. We pretty much controlled the game the whole time but I told the guys at halftime they’re gonna have a run at some point,” said Ross.
“We had lapses defensively and we weren’t sharing the ball offensively and that gave them the momentum. But we’re able to make big shots and weather the storm and come out with the win.”
He was referring to a 13-0 scoring run by SMB in response to a Ginebra rally. The run included his own triple and layup surrounding two three-pointers and a layup by Cruz, giving SMB a much more comfortable 92-75 lead with 1:52 left.
Trade acquisition Don Trollano made an impressive debut for SMB after being acquired from NLEX, scoring 16 points along with 6 rebounds. The former Road Warrior scored 14 points in the first half, aiding SMB to a 56-36 halftime lead.
“I’ve been raving about Don for some years now. He’s a player. He came in and he was seamless, he picked up our offensive and defensive schemes quickly and made some big shots. He’s a complete player, super low maintenance. He’s a big help for us,” said Ross.