Alaska’s Mike Harris all respect for Meralco’s Reynel Hugnatan

Delfin Dioquino
The Aces import tips his hat to the 40-year-old veteran for his clutch play for the Bolts in their semifinals duel

NOTHING BUT LOVE. Meralco's Reynel Hugnatan (back) earns the respect of Alaska import Mike Harris. Photo from PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines – Mike Harris engaged in an intense battle with Allen Durham as Alaska moved one win away from the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup finals, but it wasn’t just the Meralco import who earned his respect. 

Harris tipped his hat to the Bolts’ Reynel Hugnatan after the 40-year-old veteran nearly played spoiler in the Aces’ gritty 104-102 Game 3 win that gave the the team a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five semifinals affair. 

Hugnatan, who finished with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, nearly forced overtime but saw his potential game-tying putback rim out to the relief of Harris and the rest of Alaska. 

“Durham, he does what he does non-stop every night. But the left-handed guy, I don’t know his name, the older guy? The 4 position? Amazing,” Harris told reporters about Hugnatan after the game. 

“I love that guy. He has ice water on his veins. He’s so calm, collected. He doesn’t do nothing out of his game. He makes big shot after big shot.” 

Harris was referring to Hugnatan’s late-game heroics that saw him almost singlehandedly tow the Bolts to victory with his long-range sniping.

The 15-year PBA veteran waxed hot from deep and buried back-to-back crucial three-pointers that put the Meralco up 96-95 with 1:40 minutes left. 

However, Harris – who finished with a herculean effort of 31 points, 24 rebounds and 7 assists – took over and scored the Aces’ last 7 points en route to the triumph. 

“Everyone does their stuff. But guys like that (Hugnatan), you know, deserve a lot of respect,” the 35-year-old reinforcement added.

Harris and the Aces go for the kill in Game 4 on Saturday, November 17, at the Cuneta Astrodome for their first finals appearance since the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup. Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

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.