Mike Harris was back to his lethal ways, and Alaska reaped the benefits as the Aces tore the Magnolia Hotshots apart, 100-71, in Game Three of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The conference’s Best Import award frontrunner was sensational, especially in the third quarter. He exploded for 22 points – eight more than the opposition in the whole chapter – of his team-best 36.
Harris’ scoring outburst allowed the Aces to lead by 34, 83-49, with 41.2 seconds remaining in the said chapter.
The 35-year-old forward – who averaged just 21.0 points and 14 rebounds in this championship series’ first two games – shot 14-of-22 from the field, including 4-of-7 from the outside. He also collected 18 caroms and three assists.
The Aces also dealt the Hotshots their worst Finals loss in franchise history. The last time Magnolia were sorely beaten was in 1997, when they lost by 28 in the Finals’ Game Five of the same conference – also against the Milkmen.
Alaska then secured their unprecedented fourth straight Governors’ Cup crown in that victory.
“I think we had a great defensive effort, and we made some shots,” said head coach Alex Compton. “The story of the game in the first three quarters was we made a bunch of shots, we didn’t turn it over, and we defended at the same time.”
Vic Manuel seemingly regained his groove, as he scattered 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting; he only scored a total of 16 points in the first two games. Simon Enciso produced 12 points, which he all got from three-pointers.
Carl Bryan Cruz had himself a night, as he chipped in 10 markers for Alaska.
The often-benched sophomore forward was the Aces’ spark plug in the second frame. His corner three-pointer – his seventh point in the match – gave his side a 32-26 lead with 6:08 left, and that opened the floodgates.
“Special shoutout to Bryan Cruz, he’s done work all year. In a conference like this it’s always tough for bigs… But Bryan’s been active in practice, listening, asking questions, and working hard,” Compton said. “I’m really happy for him.”
Romeo Travis, who left the match with 2:38 to go in the third chapter due to an an apparent ankle injury, led Magnolia with 18 points and three rebounds. Veteran guard Mark Barroca was his only support with 13 markers.
Game Four of the best-of-seven series is on Wednesday, December 12, at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska 100 – Harris 36, Manuel 14, Enciso 12, Cruz 10, Banchero 6, J. Pascual 4, Teng 4, Galliguez 4, Casio 4, Andrada 2, Baclao 2, Racal 2, Exciminiano 0, Magat 0, Potts 0.
Magnolia 71 – Travis 18, Barroca 13, Herndon 7, Sangalang 7, Mendoza 6, Dela Rosa 5, Abundo 4, Reavis 3, Lee 2, Ramos 2, Melton 2, Jalalon 2, Simon 0, Gamalinda 0, Brondial 0, K. Pascual 0.
Quarterscores: 16-22, 50-36, 83-50, 100-71.
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