MANILA, Philippines – The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters may have found an import who fits their system the best in Richard Ross – if only they did at a much earlier time.
Ross, the Elasto Painters' fourth import in the PBA Governors' Cup, could not salvage Rain or Shine from slipping to the bottom of the standings as they absorbed a 91-111 loss to NLEX on Wednesday, October 30.
Despite the defeat, Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia commended Ross, whom he said could have made a difference had he started the conference.
"You can't blame him. He played well," Garcia said of Ross, who still put up 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists despite being in the country for only a couple of days.
"I think if he came in early at the start of the conference, we probably would have went a different direction. He's a good import."
Ross was one of the main reasons the Elasto Painters led by as many as 12 points against the Road Warriors early in the match, scoring 7 of his output in the opening quarter.
However, Ross was saddled with 3 fouls in the first half, paving the way for NLEX to take a two-point lead at halftime and eventually cruise to the 20-point win.
Even Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao felt Ross was the import his former team needed.
"Coach Yeng told me after the game, 'Your new import is okay.' But it's too late. If he started the conference, he would probably play differently," Garcia said in a mix of Filipino and English.
"He still has to get the feel of playing with his teammates and at the same time, make adjustments with the calls. The thing that I told him today, he only went to the line once. He has to be more aggressive in the next two games."
While there is only a slim chance that Rain or Shine will make the playoffs after compiling a 2-7 record so far, Ross vowed to go all out.
"My goal is just to do the best I can, do everything I can to help this team to give them a chance to make it to the next round," said Ross, who is coming off a stint with the Anhui Dragons in the National Basketball League in China.
"It's an uphill battle, but it's still not completely over. We still got a chance. As long as there's a chance, I'm going to keep fighting for it." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.