Tony Harris bares 'old guy' told him he can break PBA scoring record before 105-point blast

Tony Harris bares 'old guy' told him he can break PBA scoring record before 105-point blast

According to Tony Harris, a fan motivated him that he score more than what Michael Hackett once did.
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--It was Oct. 10, 1992.

Swift was playing Ginebra in a PBA Third Conference out-of-town action.

What transpired during the match was a moment in history.

Tony Harris, the Mighty Meaties' import for the tournament now known as the Governors' Cup, dropped 105 points to lead them to a 151-147 victory over the gritty Barangay for their sixth straight win that time.

The scoring barrage went down as the highest scoring game by a PBA player, a record which remains to this day.

However, according to Harris, no one--not even him--thought of dropping 104 or more in that game except for a fan who actually joined him and the rest of the RFM franchise in the flight to Iloilo City for the Ginebra clash.

"In a game right before [the] Iloilo [match], I scored 78 points. There was an old guy, [a] Filipino guy, who watched me play that game. In the airplane, he was flying to Iloilo with us. As I was sitting on my seat listening to my music, the old man came and tapped on my shoulders. He looked down at me and asked me, 'Mr. Tony, do you know the highest scoring single player game in the PBA?' I said, 'Yes, sir. It was 103 points by a guy by the name of Michael Hackett in 1985.' He looked down at me and said, 'Tony, you can break that record,'" Harris recalled the conversation he had with the said fan in the Sports on Air podcast.

After hearing what the fan said, Harris first found the old man's words preposterous.

"I said, 'Sir, not in a million years that I'll be able to score a hundred points, but thank you for having that confidence in me,'" he bared his reply to the fan.

Lo and behold, the old man was in attendance at the University of San Agustin Gym for the Swift-Ginebra game.

"I got into the coliseum. I was on the floor warming up for the game. I saw the old man pointing his finger at me from the bleachers, telling me, 'You can do it,'" Harris further said, adding that he had to confirm to teammates Rudy Distrito and Nelson Asaytono if the fan is the same guy who talked to him in their flight.

The fan indeed predicted it right.

By halftime, Harris, a six-foot-three guard, already dropped 58 points, in itself a PBA record for the most by a player in a half.

However, his scoring relatively slowed down in the fourth quarter especially that he was already with five fouls by the third quarter.

Despite the foul trouble, Harris still took over in the end.

He scored what would be the go-ahead three-point play with 16 seconds left to put Swift ahead, 149-147.

That and-one put him at 103, already matching the old feat of Hackett, interestingly Ginebra's import for the 1985 Open Conference.

Bennett Palad had a chance to force overtime, but he missed his field goal and Harris sank two insurance free throws not just to seal Swift's win but also set the new PBA scoring record.

"The old man stood up and started clapping. He started pointing his finger at me again and said, 'I told you. You can do it,'" Harris, who only found out what he just did that time after the arena barker announced his scoring feat, recalled the fan's post-game antics.

However, Harris insisted that scoring 105 points on Ginebra was never in his mind.

"I was just trying to win because I really wanted to beat Ginebra," he further said.

The Mighty Meaties would go on to win the Third Conference championship, the first for the franchise, sweeping the second incarnation of the 7-Up Uncolas, now known as the TNT KaTtropa, in the finals.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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