As a five-time PBA champion, Chris Ross has been through a lot of playoff games and yet he could still remember that particular Saturday night when his San Miguel Beermen lost to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup semifinals two years ago.
The game was forgettable for the Beermen, who lost, 113-110, after they blew a 20-point lead in the third quarter, but somehow, Ross recalled that moment on the fly.
And how could he not? It was a game where then-Rain or Shine import Wendell McKines muscled his way to 53 points on 16-of-23 shooting from the field and 17 rebounds with five assists and five blocks to boot.
“I’ve never played with him but playing against him, he’s a beast,” said Ross, who doesn’t have to worry about slowing down McKines with the Oakland, California native suiting up for the Beermen in the 2017 Governors’ Cup.
“One game in the semifinals when he was still with Rain or Shine, he put 50 points on us so he’s a tough dude, he’s hungry, he wants to win and he knows the task at hand.”
McKines, who turns 29 next month, won’t get to play until the next several weeks but his work has already started in May when he joined SMB here.
“More than practice, I had the chance to be with the team and get to know my teammates as people and they get to know me and that translates on the basketball floor,” said McKines, who is playing for his third PBA franchise after making his league debut for the Alaska Aces in 2013.
“It’s good that he was able to come early and go through the playoff process with us and how we operate in practice, how we operate during games,” Ross said.
Ross added that the Beermen’s quest for a Grand Slam gives McKines’ more reasons to win.
“It adds extra motivation for him and he’s a winner so it’s easy for him to integrate with us,” said Ross.
“I’m playing on the best team in the PBA and I play with a lot of heart and passion so no pressure just all opportunity,” McKines said.