Mike Harris pulled off a huge double-double in his Magnolia debut as the Hotshots staved off Terrafirma Dyip, 114-87, at the start of their campaign in the 2021 PBA Governor’s Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Harris opened his stint on a high note after notching 30 points and 15 rebounds in his comeback to the league with the return of the live audience. He previously saw action for the Alaska Aces three years ago.
The Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference, Calvin Abueva, also fueled a double-double with 17 markers and 11 rebounds, while Paul Lee added 16 points and Ian Sangalang and Aris Dionisio put up 10 that led the Hotshots blow by as many as 34-point margin against the Dyip.
Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero assured that the onset of their Governor’s Cup campaign would be as strong as their start during the last bubble in Pampanga.
“Actually, iyan ang pinag-usapan namin. We want to start strong,” said Victolero. “We want to send the message right away.”
After a tight first canto, Magnolia gained its momentum in the second frame with a 10-0 run while Abueva capped the period with a buzzer beating three from halfcourt that made their lead to six, 46-35.
Victolero bared there were too much excitement brought about by their return to the Big Dome with the return of the fans for the first time since opening day in March 8 of last year, which were limited due to the implementation of health and safety protocols
“Ang talagang worry ko lang is the rhythm and the timing,” said Victolero. “Kung makikita natin ‘yung first quarter medyo… halos lahat excited, eh. But once we settled down ‘yung depensa namin gumanda, umayos.”