The Meralco Bolts edged out the Alaska Aces, 97-92, in Game 1 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Antipolo.
Import Allen Durham put up 32 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists as the Bolts took the opener of the best-of-five series.
Chris Newsome had 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and four steals, while Baser Amer added 14 points, four rebounds, and three assists.
Struggling at the start of the conference, Meralco continued to roll and picked up its seventh straight victory since the elimination round.
The Bolts seized control early and even led by as much as 16 points, but Alaska, behind Harris and Chris Banchero, pulled to within six, 82-76 with four minutes remaining.
After a timeout, the Bolts went on a 9-2 run highlighted by Newsome's 3-pointer to restore a 13-point lead.
Alaska refused to fold, but time wasn't on its side. Harris and Chris Exciminiano uncorked 3s to come to within four, 96-92, with 2.2 ticks to go.
"We just wanna send a message that no matter how deep the hole you're in, you can always climb back. It's a testament to our team, to never give up, to be resilient in the face of adversity," said Newsome after the match.
Banchero finished with 16 points, four rebounds, and the same number of assists. Vic Manuel chipped in 14 points, five rebounds, and three dimes.
Meralco 97 - Durham 32, Newsome 16, Amer 14, Hugnatan 9, Caram 7, Faundo 6, Canaleta 6, Tolomia 5, Salva 2, Dillinger 0.
Alaska 92 - Harris 37, Banchero 16, Manuel 14, Casio 5, Enciso 5, Exciminiano 5, Teng 4, Pascual 4, Galliguez 2, Baclao 0, Racal 0, Thoss 0.
Quarterscores: 25-17, 47-34, 72-56, 97-92.
-- Mike Harris got his fifth foul with still 10:27 remaining in the fourth period. But he was able to play on until the final buzzer.
-- Chris Banchero sprained his ankle in the quarterfinals. But he checked back in at the 6:52 mark of the second period and played through pain.
-- Game 2 on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena