MANILA, Philippines – Mike Harris once again did the heavy lifting to propel Alaska to a series-tying 90-76 Game 4 win against Magnolia in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup finals at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, December 12.
On the night he was named Best Import of the Conference, Harris put up 34 points, 22 rebounds, and 3 blocks as the Aces knotted the best-of-seven series at 2-all after losing the first two games.
But it wasn't just the 35-year-old reinforcement who shone for Alaska as Chris Banchero and Jake Pascual conspired in the endgame to completely dash the Hotshots' hopes of gaining a commanding 3-1 lead.
Banchero, who delivered 17 points on top of 6 rebounds and 5 assists, hit a crucial triple with 1:16 minutes left to give the Aces an 85-73 lead right after import Romeo Travis shaved Magnolia's deficit to single digits with a trey.
On the next possession, Pascual converted a layup on the fastbreak as Alaska enjoyed a 14-point lead with a minute left. He finished with 9 points – with 6 coming in the 4th alone – to go with 5 boards.
It was a highly physical battle with both teams going back and forth on both ends on the floor until it turned ugly with Travis needing to leave the playing court with a busted glabella and Banchero getting punched in the groin.
The Hotshots were on the verge of completely turning the tides, 44-48, in the 3rd quarter only to witness a bloodied Travis head into the locker room to get patched up.
Without Magnolia's reinforcement, the Aces restored order as they entered the 4th back in control, 63-50 – a lead they would never relinquish.
Banchero, meanwhile, sustained a punch to the groin from Mark Barroca late in the 4th quarter that the referees didn't see. He, though, had his revenge with the clutch trey that virtually sealed the deal for Alaska.
Travis churned out 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists but his all-around numbers weren't enough to prevent the Hotshots from losing their second straight.
Best Player of the Conference Paul Lee struggled from the field with a 4-of-12 shooting clip to end up with 14 points. He also had 8 rebounds and 2 assists in the losing effort.
Game 5 is slated on Friday, December 14, at the same venue.
Alaska 90 - Harris 34, Banchero 17, Pascual 9, Racal 8, Teng 7, Galliguez 5, Manuel 4, Cruz 3, Baclao 3, Enciso 0, Exciminiano 0, Casio 0.
Magnolia 76 - Travis 29, Lee 14, Sangalang 11, Barroca 8, Jalalon 7, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Melton 1, Dela Rosa 0, Herndon 0.
Quarters: 19-22, 43-32, 63-50, 90-76.
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.