San Miguel's Ross says health, safety take precedence over PBA season

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2020 01:10 PM | Updated as of May 04 2020 02:00 PM

San Miguel guard Chris Ross during their season-opening game against the Magnolia Hotshots. The Beermen's 94-78 win remains the only game that the PBA has played so far this season. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- San Miguel guard Chris Ross will completely understand if the PBA Board of Governors decides to cancel the league's 45th season due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Moreover, the veteran guard believes that games should not take place until there is a vaccine for the disease that has already affected over 3.5 million worldwide.

"I kind of had a hunch that that's the way that it will go," Ross told ABS-CBN News of the possibility that the season will be cancelled.

The PBA's 45th season was launched last March 8, with Ross and the Beermen opening their title defense in the All-Filipino Cup by defeating the Magnolia Hotshots, 94-78. It turned out to be the only game that was played so far, as the league suspended all of its activities shortly after due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Over the weekend, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial announced that the Board will wait until August to decide if they will push through with a shortened season, or cancel it entirely.

Ross was unsurprised at the development, given the situation in the country. As of Sunday, there were over 9,000 reported cases in the Philippines.

"Every time that there's a community quarantine, it keeps getting pushed back, right?" he noted.

If the season is scrapped, that means the Beermen won't get the chance to go for a sixth straight All-Filipino crown, extending their unprecedented streak. As disappointing as this may be, Ross said it will be the right decision.

"Overall, health is more important than anything," he stressed. "At the end of the day, basketball is just a game."

"Of course, you wanna win, and you wanna compete for championships, but when you look back on it and the big picture of life, it's just a game," he added. "There's lives on the line and people are getting really sick, and worse, people are losing their lives from this disease."

"So when you look at the big grand scheme of things, basketball is just a game, and of course you wanna play it and we wanna try to win and try to compete at a high level but at the end of the day, it's a game."

The pandemic has already forced the cancellation of the UAAP and NCAA seasons, and the Philippine Sports Commission also announced that there will be no national team events for the rest of the year. The ASEAN Paralympic Games, set for October, are most likely cancelled as well.

Ross believes that before sports resume, there should first be a vaccine for COVID-19 to ensure the safety of the players and the fans.

"You really have to get a vaccine out there, and you really have to get some type of cure, or some type of way to make this thing go away before you put not only us as players, but you guys as reporters and fans that are gonna watch," he said.

"Everyone's safety is at risk, so you wanna make sure that this thing's under control before we all get thrown out there into the fire," he added.

Ross has been locked down in his home since the enhanced community quarantine was implemented in March, and has been making do with the equipment available to keep in shape. This period of time, he said, is the longest he's gone without basketball outside of the times he's been injured.

"I haven't touched a ball since our last game," he said with a sigh. "I mean, I have this little rim in my room, but not the same, man."

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).