Alaska Milk finally found a way to get past mighty San Miguel Beer in a playoff battle, pulling off a 96-85 triumph to advance to the PBA Governors Cup Final Four last night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Aces used a lockdown defense to neutralize all SMB's lethal weapon, holding the Beermen 26 points below their average to nail the win that ended their series of disappointing playoff losses to SMB.
Mike Harris and his teammates advanced to the semifinals, awaiting the winner of the Meralco-Phoenix Petroleum knockout setto on Friday over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska coach Alex Compton heaved a sigh they were able to beat San Miguel in one game.
"I really didn't want to play Friday. That's not a good situation with June Mar (Fajardo) getting his groove back and with Christian (Standhardinger) leading the locals in scoring," said Compton.
"We are not the biggest team. Today is a knockout for us. We have to win today," Compton added.
The Aces didn't give the Beermen a fighting chance to force a do-or-die as they poured on everything they got to storm to a 21-point spread in the third period.
Curiously, the man unaware of the Alaska-San Miguel history led the Aces juggernaught.
"San Miguel is a great team that's peaking at the right time and they're a great challenge for us. I don't know about the rivalry, and that's a good thing for me. I didn't focus on that and just tried to be aggressive and assertive," said Harris.
"It's about defense. I think everyone did a great job on defense. All the guys played their hearts out the entire game," Harris also said.
The Beermen entered the game as the league's No. 1 scoring team averaging 111.4 points a game.
But the Aces put the clamps on the Beermen, limiting them to 42 points in the first half and to a miserable seven in the third period.
With 25 points, 17 rebounds and two assists, Harris served as the lead force as the Aces snapped four successive losses to the Beermen in the playoffs - three in the finals.
Even as Harris sat out precious minutes due to cramps, the Alaska locals ably held the fort to end the season of the Beermen, including top MVP contender Fajardo and BPC top bet Standhardinger.
The Aces were ahead by just one at the half, 43-42, before going full throttle in their return from the halftime break.*pba.ph
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