San Miguel is well aware of how Ginebra is fueled by the rowdy crowd.
That’s why Beermen wasted no time in taking the life out of the Gin Kings faithful from the 14,026 inside Mall of Asia Arena in Game 1 of the Philippine Cup Finals.
From the tip off, San Miguel thoroughly outplayed Ginebra and doused any potential rally fro m crowd favorites to cruise to a comfortable 109-82 rout in the series opener on Friday.
“We just wanted to come out strong,” said Chris Ross. “We knew that those guys, they had a game on Tuesday, and I think they only had a day to prepare for us. It’s kind of tough to shift from their game against Star to us because we have different personnel. We wanted to jump on them early and get the crowd out of the game, and it worked for us.”
Ross, who had 17 points, eight assists, and five rebounds in the victory, shared that the strong opener was the boost the coaching staff was looking for after days of having dismal practice sessions.
“I had a pep talk with the guys before the game because the coaches were worried that we’re too relaxed,” he said. “We kind of fired each other up and we came out blazing.”
Everything just clicked for the Beermen as they built a 36-point lead, 85-49, in the third quarter and protected the cushion until the end, only letting Ginebra go within 27 in the fourth period.
San Miguel shot 53 percent from the field and 10-of-29 from three including 28 assists Ross hopes that his team can sustain its scintillating run as the series goes to Lucena in Quezon for Game 2 on Sunday.
“It’s a quick turnaround and we know that playing out-of-town, the crowd is going to be crazy for Ginebra,” he said. “We know they’re going to adjust. Coach Tim (Cone) is a great coach and we know he’s going to be ready for us. So we just got to make the necessary adjustments and we’ll be ready for whatever they throw at us. We just got to come out and silence the crowd, try to bring the same intensity that we had, and make some adjustments.”
Ross ended: “We’ll throw everything to the side. It’s Game 2 and going up 2-0 will be big for us. We’ll throw everything out there and try to get this game on Sunday.”