Mike Harris led a pullaway in the fourth with his outside shooting as the Aces win the series, 3-1, to return to the finals after two years when they lost to the finals of the Commissioner’s Cup to Rain or Shine.
Alaska will now face Magnolia in their first finals series since the 2009-2010 PBA Philippine Cup where the then Tim Cone-coached Aces lost via sweep of the series against a James Yap-led Hotshots squad mentored by Ryan Gregorio.
Game One of the best-of-seven finals will be held on December 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena following the end of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
The Aces reached the finals by winning three straight games after dropping Game One of the series thanks in large part to Harris, who buried two triples in a key 11-1 run midway in the fourth.
The hero in Game Three with his inside baskets, Harris this time connected from the outside as he broke a 73-73 tie, then capped off the pivotal run with another three for an 84-75 lead.
“I’m so proud of our guys,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton. “We are not perfect but we played hard. Just so proud of them.”
Harris finished with 27 points and shot 9 of 18 from the field. The Alaska import also grabbed 14 rebounds in the close-out Game Four.
Allen Durham had 31 points and 14 rebounds for the Bolts, who failed in their bid to return to the Governors’ Cup finals for the third consecutive time.
ALASKA 99 – Harris 27, Casio 14, Teng 10, Racal 10, Manuel 10, Banchero 9, Enciso 7, Thoss 4, Baclao 4, J. Pascual 4, Exciminiano 0, Potts 0.
MERALCO 92 – Durham 31, Hugnatan 13, Newsome 12, Salva 10, Amer 10, Lanete 7, Caram 7, Hodge 2, Faundo 0, Tolomia 0, Canaleta 0, Dillinger 0.
Quarters: 21-28; 47-48; 68-60; 99-92.