MANILA – Magnolia still went out to work on a Sunday night despite its playoff fate already sealed, dealing Alaska a 118-91 beating in a crucial PBA Governors’ Cup meeting at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The Hotshots stomped their dominance early on, opening a 37-18 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looking back, even upping its lead to as high as 31 points.
Mike Harris issued a statement against his former team, scoring 38 points on 15-of-20 shooting, 10 rebounds, two steals, and one block for the now 9-1 Magnolia squad, which will enter the quarterfinals as the top seed with a twice-to-beat advantage.
Ian Sangalang added 14 points on 6-for-9 field goals, six rebounds, and one steal in his return to action, while Jio Jalalon chipped in 12 markers, 11 dimes, two boards, and one steal.
Jack Corpuz made 12 points too, going 5-for-6 from the field and making both his three-point shots, alongside two rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal.
RK Ilagan led Alaska, which ended its elimination round campaign at 6-5, with 14 points, two rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Olu Ashaolu added 12 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists, while Maverick Ahanmisi also made 12 markers with one board and three dimes.
With the defeat which dropped the club to sixth place, the team missed out on an outright chance to claim a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round and will now await the results of the remaining games to find out if it will still finish in the Top 4.
Sonny Thoss’ jersey retired
During halftime, the Aces formally retired the #7 jersey of center Sonny Thoss, who played with the team all throughout his PBA career.
It turned out to be a reunion party as some of the former Alaska personnel joined the present squad in honoring the six-foot-seven center, drafted fifth overall in the 2004 draft.
Harris, Rome De La Rosa, Jojo Lastimosa, Johnny Abarrientos, LA Tenorio, Raffy Reyes, Joe Devance, Chris Banchero, Topex Robinson, Paolo Bugia, Cyrus Baguio, Calvin Abueva, John Ferriols, and RJ Jazul were present in the formal ceremony even as current Ginebra coach Tim Cone, who was Alaska’s mentor early into Thoss’ career, joined the retirement event too.
“After seeing the clips and seeing old teammates, there’s one word that comes to my mind, and that’s ‘blessed’,” Thoss said. “It truly is an honor, and I’m very grateful to each and every one of you.”
Thoss became the seventh player to have his jersey retired as an Ace, joining Lastimosa, Abarrientos, Bong Hawkins, Sean Chambers, Bogs Adornado, and current Aces coach Jeffrey Cariaso.
Thoss, however, might turn out to be the last player Alaska has had his jersey retired as the team is leaving the league at the end of the season.
“Sadly, good things do come to an end. I know this is a very sad moment for a lot of people that this will be the last time we’ll be able to experience the Alaska Aces team in action this conference, but we don’t have to leave sad but with our heads up high and proud to be a part of a company rich in integrity and success,” he added. (PNA)