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MANILA, Philippines – Chris Ross almost walked away from the PBA.
Ross admitted he considered retiring from the league following the death of his father late last year – a painful loss that eventually fueled him into helping San Miguel reclaim its throne as the king of the Philippine Cup.
“To say the least, it was the hardest time of my life. The absolute hardest time of my life. I thought about it,” said the 37-year-old veteran when asked if he mulled retirement.
“I really thought about calling boss (San Miguel sports director) Al (Chua) and telling him I do not have anything left in me.”
Ross, though, believed his father would not have wanted him to quit.
Determined to continue carrying the Ross legacy passed on to him by his father, the former Best Player of the Conference reunited with the Beermen and keyed the storied franchise to a record-extending 28th crown.
Ross averaged all-around number of 5.7 points, 4.4 assists, 4 rebounds, 1.3 steals in the All-Filipino finals, which saw San Miguel outlast TNT in seven games to end a three-year championship drought.
“My dad has been a fighter, a warrior his whole life. He would want me to come out here and do what I love and make him proud,” said Ross, who captured his ninth PBA title.
“Once I got the strength to do that, that was when I came back out here.”
Ross said he drew strength from his father as he managed to finish the conference despite battling a variety of injuries.
The two-time Finals MVP suffered a knee contusion that forced him to sit out much of the elimination round and suffered a hand injury in the playoffs.
“[My dad] was the man who introduced basketball to me. Taught me how to be a man, taught me how to be respectful. I was in a room with him till his last breath. Me growing up with my Dad, I thought he was Superman,” he said.
“He started working when he was 12 years old never complained about anything, even when he was in his deathbed. That was the strength I got from him.” – Rappler.com