Fueled by 'trash talk,' Mike Harris brings Alaska back from the dead

MANILA, Philippines – Let's just say Mike Harris thrives on a little bit of "trash talking."

Harris served as a shot in the arm Alaska needed in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup finals as the Aces gave the Magnolia Hotshots a 100-71 shellacking in Game 3 on Sunday, December 9.

The 35-year-old reinforcement churned out 36 points and 18 rebounds to help the Aces clinch their first win in the best-of-seven championship duel and cut the Hotshots' series lead to 1-2. 

It was a night to remember for Harris as he scattered 22 points of his total output in the 3rd quarter that saw Alaska enjoy an 83-50 advantage heading into the final frame. 

But aside from preventing his side to fall into a dangerous 0-3 hole, Harris had another motivation in his remarkable performance. 

"Coach got on me in the 3rd quarter, at the beginning, I got off to a slow start. I wasn't precise with my movements defensively and I get motivated off of trash talking," Harris told reporters after the win. 

"He said some stuff and it kind of got me excited." 

Soon after, what was once a manageable 55-41 Aces lead grew to 73-49 as Harris scored 18 straight points, which was capped by 3 three-pointers in a row.

In that personal run alone, he already outscored the Hotshots, who were limited to just 14 points in the 3rd quarter. 

"I think this is one of those games that we needed to win. If they won this game, they go into Game 4 trying to close it. Now both teams are able to re-focus," Harris said. 

The Best Import contender, though, was far from a celebratory mood.

"We haven't done anything, we just prevented a sweep. I think now we got their attention a little bit more but they have our attention as well, they're leading 2-1." 

Alaska seeks to equalize the series in Game 4 on Wednesday, December 12, at the Araneta Coliseum. 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.