Hope not lost on Mike Harris even as Alaska trails 0-2

MANILA, Philippines – Mike Harris isn't pushing the panic button just yet despite seeing Alaska fall to a 0-2 hole in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup finals against Magnolia. 

The Best Import contender said he and the Aces couldn't get too low after they fell prey to the Hotshots anew, 71-77, in Game 2 of the best-of-seven championship duel on Friday, December 7. 

"I've been down 2-0 before. [It sounds like a] big deal but it's not. You take it one game at a time. Still first to 4. So you know, our job is come back, re-focus tomorrow and be ready for Game 3," Harris told reporters after the loss. 

"All we need to do is win one, changes the whole thing." 

The 35-year-old reinforcement knows what he's talking about, after all, he already won championships in multiple parts of the globe. 

He capped his Most Valuable Player season in the NBA G-League in 2010 by helping the Rio Grande Valley Vipers net the title.

Harris then joined Leones de Ponce in Puerto Rico's Baloncesto Superior Nacional and powered the team to two league championships in 2014 and 2015.

A year after, he led the Sichuan Blue Whales to the squad's first Chinese Basketball Association crown. 

"We can't get down on ourselves. I'm not down on myself. I've been in this before so I like the situation. This is a precious situation. Comes down to execution and that's what exactly I expected coming into this." 

If anything, Harris looks forward to overcoming the challenge the Hotshots' formidable defense poses against him.

Harris averaged jaw-dropping numbers of 29.8 points, 21.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.3 blocks and .8 steals against 3.7 turnovers in the elimination round.

But against Magnolia in the finals, his per game counts have dipped to 21.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists. He also norms more turnovers with 6.0 a game. Harris, though, averages an improved 3.5 steals and 1.5 blocks. 

"They challenge me a lot more on the court than most teams had done this year. They really forced me to move the ball and focus in passing, so I really, really like that. It's a challenge I'm ready to take," he added. 

The Aces seek to shave their series deficit in Game 3 on Sunday, December 9, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. 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.