Alaska leans on Harris, Enciso and Banchero to get to within one game of the Finals

Alaska Aces 104 – Meralco Bolts 102 (Alaska leads 2-1)

Game 3 between the Alaska Aces and the Meralco Bolts was a tight, back-and-forth affair up to the very end. It all culminated with the two teams trading blows in the final minute. The Aces relied on their talented import Mike Harris to deliver the win in the end game.

Meralco tried to pull away in the second quarter. AllenDurham along with Chris Newsome and Baser Amer tried to tow the Bolts to the win, pulling away by 11 points in the second quarter before settling for a six-point lead heading into the half.

But Alaska refused to back down. Harris, Simon Enciso and Chris Banchero led the way in the third quarter. The three brought the Aces back into the game. They took a one-point lead heading to the fourth quarter. That set up the explosive final period between both teams.

Reynel Hugnatan and Enciso traded drives to open the fourth quarter and keep the score tied. Garvo Lanete and Newsome scored six straight points to give the Bolts some breathing room. But that was short-lived as Harris and Banchero scored five straight to get to within one.

Durham kept the Bolts up by three by trading baskets with Harris midway through the quarter. Finally, the Aces broke through. Enciso hit a three-pointer to tie the game and then followed it up with a floater and a free throw to give Alaska a three-point lead heading into the final minutes.

That’s when things got really crazy.

Durham scored on an and-one bucket to tie the game but Enciso quickly countered with a three-pointer to give Alaska the lead back. Meralco wouldn’t budge an inch as Hugnatan answered right back with his own three-pointer. Harris scored on jumper to give the Aces a two-point lead. But Hugnatan stayed hot. He hit another three-pointer to give Meralco a one-point lead.

Harris scored on another and-one score inside to give Alaska a two-point lead. Durham responded with two points of his own to tie the game at 100 with 41 seconds left. In this shootout between both teams, it was Harris that had one final bullet in his barrel.

He powered his way inside once again for a score and the foul to give Alaska a three-point lead. Durham cut the deficit down to just one on a drive with 11 seconds left in the game. They fouled Harris who split his free throws, giving the Bolts one last chance to steal the win. Unfortunately Durham and Hugnatan missed both their attempts up close as time expired.

Harris led the Aces with 31 points, 24 rebounds and seven assists. Banchero and Enciso scored 17 points each to support their import.