DESPITE winning the pivotal Game 3 over Magnolia Pambansang Manok by a mile last Sunday, Alaska Milk prefers to treat Wednesday’s all-important Game 4 of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum like “another elimination game.”
Ask Alaska import Mike Harris.
“We haven’t done anything, we just prevented a sweep,” said Harris after the Aces’ smashing 100-71 winover the Hotshots that cut the deficit in their best-of-seven title series to 1-2.
“You enjoyed this tonight. They know we’re not going to quit and we know they’re not going to quit. This is one of those games that we needed to win. Had they won this game, they’re going to Game 4 trying to close it,” added Harris, who scored 22 of his 36 points in the third quarter when the Aces finally pulled away for good.
“Now, we got their attention a little bit more, but they have our attention as well.”
Harris, the top contender for the conference’s “Best Import” award, reminded his teammates not to be carried away by their impressive 29-point win. “We got to be prepared. In the locker room, it’s not a big celebration moment because we haven’t done anything. We just stop from going down 3-0,” said the 35-year-old import.
“As I’ve already said, this is a marathon, not a sprint,” he added.
Actually, Magnolia swept the first two games of the series with 100-84 win in Game 1 and 77-71 triumph in Game 2 behind strong performances by import Romeo Travis, Paul Lee and Jio Jalalon.
But in Game 3 and a chance to take a commanding 3-0 advantage, the Hotshots failed badly.
Led by Harris, the Aces came out slugging and swinging to deal the Hotshots a knockout blow at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“I think we had a great defensive effort and amazing shots. The overall story of the game was that we made a bunch of shots in the first three quarters. We didn’t commit much turnovers and we played defense with great intensity,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
On record, it was the Purefoods-San Mig franchise’s worst defeat since a 28-point setback also against Alaska in Game 5 of the 1997 Governors’ Cup finals.
Compton, however, is bracing for Magnolia’s own fightback in the next game.
“To be honest ,I expect Game 4 to be like Game 2,” said Compton.