THE import match-up between Mike Harris and Allen Durham is one of the interesting sidelights of the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal match between Alaska and Meralco.
The two hulking imports have been carrying their teams on their backs to the delight of the fans who have been observing the series that is so far being controlled by Harris’ Alaska with the Aces holding a 2-1 lead in the semifinals.
“Incredible game when those guys go at it,” Alaska coach Alex Compton said. “I think sparks might fly when they run into each other. Parang bakal pareho.”
The two once again had a battle to remember in Game Three with Durham collecting 37 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. But it was Harris who brought his team to victory after finishing with 31 points, 24 rebounds, and seven assists along with the game-winning putback in the 104-102 win by the Aces.
Ahead of an expected colossal battle for Game Four on Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome, the two imports have nothing but respect to each other as they try to lead their teams to the finals of the Governors’ Cup.
“He is a very good player. He is a pro. He is a veteran. He knows what he is doing. The battle is definitely one of the better battles with imports this conference,” said Durham, the two-time Best Import in the Governors’ Cup.
The 35-year-old Harris shared the same sentiments.
“He is a tough guy,” said Harris. “He is really a strong player. He is a great player and a phenomenal player. And that’s what you want to play against.”
Despite gaining headway in the series, Harris, a former NBA D-League Most Valuable Player, said he hopes to do a better job at defending Durham.
“For me, I’ve got to position myself better in certain situations, but they run an excellent offense to put him in situations where he can be successful. And that what you want in playoff basketball. It’s hard to contain him and keep him off the block. He is great at positioning,” said Harris.
Durham also said he must to the same in defending Harris after scoring the game-winner in Game Three.
“We have to be ready and try to have a game plan to stop him, slow him down a little bit for Saturday,” said Durham.