Mike Harris sank a three-point play with 16.1 seconds left as Alaska outduelled Meralco in a battle royale, 104-102, on Thursday night to move within a win of reaching the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Harris finished with 31 points that went with his 24 rebounds and seven assists as the Aces took a 2-1 lead in the best of five series.
The hardworking Alaska import capped his all-around effort by beating Meralco’s Allen Durham off the offensive board for a follow up of his own miss. Fouled on the play, Harris calmly sank the bonus free throw to put Alaska ahead, 104-102.
With no time outs left, Meralco quickly worked the ball downcourt but Durham, Reynel Hugnatan and Anjo Caram missed successively until the final buzzer.
“Alam niyo ‘yung expression na your heart is in your throat?” a visibly relieved Alaska coach Alex Compton told sports scribes after the thrilling finish. “They are tipping the ball around, tipping the ball around, and even Anjo Caram’s last shot. That was a huge game.”
The two teams battled through 10 lead changes and 11 deadlocks.
Alaska 104 – Harris 31, Enciso 17, Banchero 17, Baclao 11, Manuel 8, Casio 7, Thoss 6, Cruz 4, Racal 3, Potts 0, Exciminiano 0.
Meralco 102 – Durham 37, Hugnatan 19, Newsome 18, Amer 11, Faundo 4, Caram 4, Salva 3, Lanete 3, Dillinger 3, Tolomia 0, Canaleta 0.
Quarterscores: 25-22; 47-53; 75-74; 104-102.