PBA: Chris Ross treasures his tenth championship and welcomes his special player-coach role

Feb 19, 2024

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Chris Ross and the other survivors of the infamous “Death Five” joined the elite company after San Miguel won the Commissioner’s Cup in PBA Season 48.

After helping the Beermen defeat Magnolia once more in Game 6 of the Finals on Wednesday night, the trio—which also includes seven-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter—has now won ten titles between them.

With that, they have now achieved the feat of winning 16 league titles, with Ramon Fernandez still leading the pack with 19.

However, the fact that this is the first title the decorated playmaker has had since joining SMB as a playing assistant coach makes it even more significant.

The 38-year-old is feeling differently now. In addition to playing, he has been more engaged with the Jorge Gallent-led staff.

He is still very much involved in the game and played a significant role in San Miguel’s most recent winning streak, which resulted in the team’s 29th championship.

With nine points in the final seconds, none more significant than the game-winning three-pointer from the right corner off a CJ Perez assist that put them up for good and ultimately led to their third Finals victory since 2018.

Ross scored the most points of the series with nine. He shot 1-for-19 in the first five games of the Finals before going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.

However, the 15-year veteran is aware of his abilities and has demonstrated them on several occasions, particularly in pivotal situations like Game 6.

Meanwhile, after San Miguel won the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, June Mar Fajardo was just thinking about returning home to Cebu.

Before returning to another difficult slog ahead, the seven-time MVP wanted to spend some time with his family and, of course, his late mother, Marites.

Indeed, Fajardo has done so. The 34-year-old proved he was home on social media on Saturday night by sharing a picture of his mother’s tomb.

He most certainly deserves this vacation, especially after enduring a difficult series against the Hotshots, who rallied from a 0-2 deficit in the best-of-7 championship match to tie the series at two games apiece.

They had to overcome a double-digit deficit early in the fourth game to win the game and their second title in four conferences, and that was just as tough in Game 6.

He has to take a plane back to Manila soon to continue his duties. The seasoned international player is included in Gilas Pilipinas’ 12-man roster for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers, which takes place from February 22–26.

He will reunite with SMB shortly after that to get ready for the 48th Philippine Cup, which begins on February 28.

Fajardo knew he would be busy again in the upcoming months, which is why he made it a point to fit in a quick vacation home.

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