Mike Harris torched his former team for 38 points as Magnolia Pambansang Manok rolled past Alaska, 118-91, Sunday, March 6 in a game that meant nothing but cosmetic for the winning team already assured of the top spot in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Harris had 18 in the opening period to set up the Hotshots’ convincing win that hiked their win-loss record to 9-1 while denying the Aces, who he reinforced in the 2018 Governors’ Cup, a chance to gain a twice-to-beat advantage.
The Hotshots came into the contest with the No. 1 and the twice-to-beat bonus in hand, but coach Chito Victolero said his players treated the match like a lot was on the line.
“Sinabi ko sa kanila na ‘There’s no such thing as a no-bearing game’,” said Victolero. “Actually, our mindset was to try and focus on the game at hand and try to get the momentum going into the playoffs.”
Sangalang returned from missing the midweek win over Meralco because of a sore knee and posted 14 points and six assists, Jio Jalalon had 12 points and 11 assists and Jackson Corpuz scored 12.
Magnolia wraps up its elims stint Wednesday against winless Blackwater, before going into the quarters, with the team hoping to have Calvin Abueva in full form after being sidelined by an injured calf.
Alaska lost its chance of securing the twice-to-beat advantage and finished the eliminations at 6-5, entering the deep phase of its farewell tour which is the quarterfinals.
The Aces came out with their throwback uniforms from the 1996 Grand Slam era, looking to put up the same kind of performance in their last elimination round assignment.
But it was a former player from Alaska’s past which put on a show as Harris fired on all cylinders right from the get as Magnolia built a huge lead, with the first quarter ending at 37-18.
Alaska did make a run in the second, pulling to within six points at 49-43 on a three-pointer by Maverick Ahanmisi, but Magnolia recovered and made the contest into a blowout.
Harris continued his onslaught in the third as the Hotshots cruised to victory.
MAGNOLIA 118 — Harris 38, Sangalang 14, Corpuz 12, Jalalon 12, Lee 8, Escoto 8, Barroca 7, Wong 7, Reavis 4, Dionisio 3, De Leon 3, Dela Rosa 2, Brill 0, Ahanmisi 0, Capobres 0.
ALASKA 91 — Ilagan 14, Ashaolu 12, Ahanmisi 12, Bulanadi 11, Taha 8, Stockton 7, Teng 6, Tratter 6, Digregorio 5, Faundo 4, Tolomia 4, Marcelino 2, Adamos 0, Publico 0, Racal 0.
Quarters: 37-18, 61-45, 87-67, 118-91.