ALASKA started strong and never let up, running away with a 96-85 win over San Miguel on Wednesday night that put a stunning end to the Beermen's season at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Import Mike Harris scored 25 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the way for the third-seeded Aces, who enjoyed twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals but needed just one game to show the Beermen the door.
By exacting a measure of revenge against an SMB team that dealt them so much heartache in the past, the Aces marched on to the semifinals where they will face either No. 2 seed Phoenix or No. 7 Meralco in a best-of-five series.
Alaska took control for good with an 11-0 run to start the third quarter.
Simon Enciso backed up Harris by scoring 15 points to lead the locals for the Aces, who were determined not to let the playoff go to a rubber match on Friday.
“I really didn’t want to play Friday,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton. “That’s not a good situation with June Mar (Fajardo) getting his groove back, Christian (Standhardinger) leading the locals in scoring, we are not the biggest team.
“Today is a knockout. We have to win today,” Compton said.
The Aces were forced to sit out Harris for the most part of the second half due to cramps, but they were still able to build the lead to as many as 21 points.
The loss put a premature end to the season of the Beermen, who ruled the Philippine Cup and finished runner-up in the Commissioner's Cup but struggled in the season-ending conference with Fajardo out injured for a long spell.
In his third game back from that injury, Fajardo played 22 minutes and finished with six points and seven rebounds.
Kevin Murphy had 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while Christian Standhardinger had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Beermen.
Alaska 96 – Harris 25, Enciso 15, Manuel 14, Teng 10, Racal 9, Baclao 6, Exciminiano 6, Casio 5, Thoss 4, Banchero 2.
San Miguel 85 – Murphy 19, Standhardinger 18, Lassiter 14, Santos 8, Nabong 8, Cabagnot 6, Fajardo 6, Ross 4, Heruela 2.
Quarters: 23-19; 43-42; 64-49; 96-85.