Alaska eliminates Meralco, sets up PBA finals date with Magnolia
The balance of the power in the PBA Governors’ Cup has been tilted totally, with even the bridesmaids in the last two seasons now without a shot at the championship.
In another game that was played a mile-a-minute, Alaska took the best that Meralco could offer on Saturday night to score a 99-92 Game 4 victory at Cuneta Astrodome and seal a first shot at a championship in more than two seasons–and a 15th title for the franchise in its storied PBA participation.
Mike Harris scored 27 points—his fewest in the Final Four—counting two critical triples heading into the homestretch as the Aces closed out this half of the semifinals with a 3-1 win to advance to a mouth-watering best-of-seven title series opposite Magnolia starting December 5.
“I like to give respect to Meralco, they’re warriors,” Harris said after also pulling down 14 rebounds and going 7-for-7 from the free throw line, practically announcing that the Best Import race will now be down between him and Magnolia’s Romeo Travis.
“They (Bolts) never gave up,” Harris went on. “But today was about us, we showed real character out there.”
Alaska roared back from 14 points down in the first half and played the last two periods as brilliantly as it could on both ends as they got to play in the championship series of this conference for the first time since 2015 and win a first title since the Commissioner’s Cup in 2013.
Though the Aces won the last three games of this series, it wasn’t as if the Bolts were easy pickings.
“I really didn’t think that my respect for Meralco would increase, but every game it increased,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton after conquering his walking-wounded enemy. “I just want to say to all the Meralco fans that they should be grateful and happy.
“There wasn’t a single game that they laid down and died,” Compton went on.
Alaska clashes with the side that dethroned Barangay Ginebra, the champion the last two seasons, starting Dec. 5 at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
“I’m not even going to think about Magnolia once tonight,” Compton, who got three players coming off the bench to score in twin digits, said. “We will enjoy tonight first.”
Allen Durham paced the Bolts with 31 points and 14 rebounds but was clearly a fagged out sight in the second half.
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