The Barangay Ginebra Kings finally snagged a win in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals after beating the San Miguel Beermen, 95-87, in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series on Tuesday.
San Miguel almost mounted a comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but Ginebra was able to hold onto the lead and secure the victory. Chris Ross could have helped his team in the endgame, but the SMB guard only played 16 minutes in the first half and never returned to the court in the final two quarters.
"We kept wondering why he wasn't out there. I assumed it was some kind of injury," Ginebra coach Tim Cone said after the game.
Ross told reporters he was feeling some kind of pain in his hip before Game 2 but played through it. He added he got treatment on it Monday and felt fine.
"It felt okay today. But in the first quarter I felt something. I couldn't really move it. We don't know what it is, we'll get a look at it tomorrow and we'll go from there."
According to SMB coach Leo Austria, Ross had a sore right hip flexor. The SMB guard iced it after the first half but Austria made a decision to sit him the rest of the game to avoid any further damage.
"We didn't play him in the second half because we didn't want to aggravate the injury," explained Austria.
Ross is expected to see a doctor Wednesday morning to have the pain assessed. But Austria believes his star player will try to play through the injury if he can.
"I hope he recovers quickly," said Austria. "I know Chris. He's played in so many games in the playoffs despite hurting in some parts of his body, especially his legs."
In the 16 minutes that he played, Ross registered six points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal. His coach and his teammates know how much of an impact he can make on the team. Even opposing coach Tim Cone is aware of it.
"He's a huge, huge difference on that team. Everybody knows how good he is but I still think it's underrated what he does for that team - in terms of spirit and in terms of their execution. He's a special player," said Cone. "If he is injured, we'll try to take advantage of it."
But with or without him, Ross believes his team is just as lethal because they have so many weapons and guys who are capable of stepping up on any given night.
"We're a champion team. Just because I'm not there doesn't mean were not a champion team," shared Ross. "We got a lot of fighters on our team and I got faith in everybody coach puts in. I know they'll go out there and compete so it doesn't surprise me at all that we got close in the end. The ball didn't bounce our way today so we'll make our adjustments tomorrow."
Asked if he would be available for Game 4, Ross answered with no hesitation: "I'll be ready... I'm a warrior."