Alaska Aces’ Noy Baclao passes the ball as Reynel Hugnatan of Meralco Bolts (right) and teammate Baser Amer double up on him in their semifinal series last night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jun Mendoza
Aces end Bolts run, level series at 1-1
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - November 14, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Mike Harris powered his way to a big double-double game, Simon Enciso frolicked from the outside and the whole Alaska Milk team shot almost perfect from the stripe as the Aces stopped the Meralco Bolts, 100-95, to force a one-game tie in their PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal playoff at the MOA Arena last night.

The Aces built a lead as big as 20 points in the third period but still needed to execute perfect plays that they had in the crunch as they bounced back from their 92-97 loss in the series opener Sunday over at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

At endgame, the Aces knocked in six-of-six charities to thwart the Bolts’ searing rally and snap Meralco’s amazing seven-game streak.

“We won this important game, and now we’ve got a best-of-three,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.

The Aces and the Bolts break the deadlock in Game Three over at the Cuneta Astrodome tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Magnolia takes its first of three cracks at closing out its series versus the embattled Barangay Ginebra squad at 7 tonight back at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Aces got out of a hole and equalized with the Bolts with tremendous lift from Harris, Enciso and the team’s 20-of-21 free throws.

“That was massive,” said Compton of their free throws in this crucial match. Before the game, the Aces averaged only 11-of-17 charities.

And the Bolts had erased a 20-point deficit and threatening to steal the game when Jvee Casio and Enciso combined for critical six-of-six foul shots at the finish.

Harris, Enciso and Chris Banchero carried the offensive load early on as the Aces made a big turnaround from their poor showing in Game One.

Harris came through with game-highs of 37 points and 19 rebounds, Enciso sizzled with five three-pointers and a career-high total of 23 while Banchero frolicked with a near triple-double with 13 markers, 11 boards and eight dole-outs.

Compton felt they fed from the tremendous energy exerted by the team from the get-go.

“It’s our attention to detail that was radically different in the first half of the last game. That was horrible,” said Compton. “We had much energy tonight. You can see the spirit of Meralco in the end. Hindi talaga biro at dapat mas maganda ang ipakita namin.”

The Aces led by 20 at 66-46 but the Bolts rallied and got back into the fight, 87-90.

MIKE HARRIS PBA GOVERNORS CUP
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