Mike Harris flexed his experience in Game Five of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals on Friday night, calmly sinking both of his shots from the foul line to give his Alaska Aces a 78-77 lead over the Magnolia Hotshots with 11 ticks left.
But his efforts went down the drain moments later.
The newly-minted Best Import had the opportunity to win the match and give Alaska a 3-2 lead in the race-to-four series, but his reliable fadeaway jumper from the baseline over the defense of counterpart Romeo Travis fell short.
“It’s always a tough pill to swallow when you lose one. So close,” said the 6-foot-5 Harris, who finished with a game-high 28 points along with 20 rebounds and five assists.
“That one just came down to both teams – hungry, fighting for it.”
But more than his shot, Harris lamented the missed shots from point-blank range by Kevin Racal and Jake Pascual with less than 25 seconds left to play. Had one of those gone in, the Aces would lead by two possessions.
“We had a possession earlier, we missed that layup when we were up two. That was pivotal,” said Harris, though he isn’t pinning the blame to anyone.
But as tough is the loss is for the Aces, who are looking to win their first championship in half a decade, Harris still tipped his hat to the opposition, and that he was glad with the way Game Five had gone.
“Hats off to them. Ball bounced to them,” said the hulking 35-year-old forward. “It was a great game. That’s the games you wanna play in. You want everybody sore, barely able to move when you come out there.
“That’s Finals basketball.”
The Hotshots will try and go for the jugular come Game Six on December 19, Wednesday, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. But Harris and the Milkmen are hard-pressed to avoid such thing from taking place.
“Still it’s a one-game series for us, just like it is for them. We’re not looking forward to Game Seven. Game Six is do-or-die for both. I’m pretty sure they don’t wanna go to Game Seven,” he said.
“For us, we wanna go to Game Seven.”
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