Mike Harris powered Magnolia to secure a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals after outlasting Meralco, 88-85, in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, March 2, at the Araneta Coliseum.

/ 3 March 2022

Import Mike Harris starred the undermanned Magnolia squad with a monster double-double of 30 points and 22 rebounds to remain as the No. 1 team in the league with an 8-1 record.

The Bolts, meanwhile, suffered their second straight skid and dropped to 6-3, enabling a tie with the Alaska Aces for the third spot in the standings.

The Hotshots, who played without Ian Sangalang, Calvin Abueva, and Rome Dela Rosa, came out slow in the first quarter as the Bolts ended the opening frame with a double point cushion, 23-11. 

The Hotshots sparked a 32-19 run in the third period that turned out to eventually take the lead, 68-66, capped by Adrian Wong, scoring eight points in the final two minutes of the quarter. 

Come the fourth quarter, Harris pulled off a crucial and-one play off an offensive rebound to put the Hotshots’ lead back to a two-possession game, 86-82.

Meralco responded with an Allein Maliksi triple to slice Magnolia’s lead back to one, 86-85, with 42 seconds left on the clock before Harris once again drilled a tough lay-up to seal the win.

“We had that effort pero maganda ‘yung pace ng Meralco. We talked about it at halftime na natalo kami sa pace. Sa third quarter, we adjusted, started Jio in the third quarter, and nakakuha kami ng momentum at energy from Jio,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said.

“Credit all to the players. They did a good job. Kahit na kulang-kulang kami, no excuses. Sabi ko next man up and everybody stepped up,” he added.

Paul Lee finished with 16 points, while Wong, Mark Barroca, and Jio Jalalon all contributed 10 points each.

Meralco import Tony Bishop was limited to just 19 points alongside 14 rebounds, while Chris Newsome contributed 18 markers.

The scores:

Magnolia 88 – Harris 30, Lee 15, Jalalon 10, Barroca 10, Wong 10, Reavis 6, Corpuz 4, Escoto 2, Brill 0, Ahanmisi 0, Dionisio 0

Meralco 85 – Bishop 19, Newsome 18, Banchero 13, Maliksi 13, Almazan 6, Hodge 5, Caram 5, Black 4, Belo 2, Quinto 0

Quarters: 11-23; 36-47; 68-66; 88-85