MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia import Mike Harris suffered a double black eye as a promising PBA Governors’ Cup campaign ended in a worrisome accident and a heartbreaking loss.
Harris got reduced to a spectator after a scary collision rendered him unable to play in the final stretch as Magnolia crashed out of the semifinals in an 81-94 defeat to Meralco on Friday, April 1.
The American sat out the last nine minutes as he required medical attention following a fourth-quarter mishap that saw him get hit in the chin by an inadvertent elbow from Meralco counterpart Tony Bishop.
Looking dazed, Harris never returned and Meralco capitalized on his absence, turning a slim 73-67 edge to an 85-72 lead en route to arranging a finals rematch with Barangay Ginebra.
“That was the turning point,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero in a mix of Filipino and English. “His presence is a big factor for us.”
Harris returned to the PBA with hopes of finally getting the job done after he fell short of a championship during his first tour of duty with Alaska in the 2018 Governors’ Cup.
Although the oldest among all reinforcements this conference, the 38-year-old lived up to the billing as a former Best Import of the Conference as he led Magnolia to the top seed with a 9-2 record in the elimination round.
Harris and Magnolia then made easy work of Phoenix in the quarterfinals to reach the final four.
But Meralco cracked Harris’ code for their do-or-die semifinals clash, limiting him to a season-low 5 points on top of 11 rebounds and 2 blocks before his exit.
Even after the game, there were still scary scenes as Harris needed to be stretchered out of the Araneta Coliseum on the way to the hospital.
“He really had a bad fall, we all saw it,” Victolero said. “Mike was not able to come back because he probably does not feel well.”
Despite their exit, Victolero still commended Harris and the rest of his wards for putting up a good fight.
“I’m very proud because we fought, it just was not enough,” Victolero said. “It was a 50-50 chance and we knew that. We managed to prepare ourselves for this series.”
“But in this game, we were not able to expect the situation that there would be injuries.” – Rappler.com