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Henry Liao

HARRIS AND HACKETT: REMEMBERING THE 100-POINT PBA IMPORTS

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Browsing through the voluminous basketball clippings that I have collected over the past five decades, it appears there have been seven 100 points-or-more performances by a Filipino player here or abroad and another two by foreign recruits on Philippine soil.

The two “imports” with century-mark scoring credentials in the professional Philippines Basketball Association (PBA) league are Americans Tony Dwayne Harris and Michael Raymond Hackett.

It was the 6-foot-5 Hackett who was the first PBA player to score at least 100 points, knocking in 103 for Ginebra San Miguel (the precursor of Barangay Ginebra) in a 197-168 thrashing of Great Taste on November 21, 1985 in a third-place game in the Reinforced Conference. Then 25 years old, the Jacksonville, Florida native went 45-for-56 from the field. Hackett already had 48 points at halftime then exploded for 33 in the third quarter.

A product of Jacksonville University, the amiable Hackett finished with a league-best 50.5-point average in 24 appearances, tallying 50 or more in 10 of them, plucked down 20.5 rebounds and dished out 6.4 assists every time out to earn the conference’s Best Import award.

Hackett was the second of two third-round selections by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1982 National Basketball Association draft but subsequently failed to make the grade.

It would be nearly seven years before another import would score at least 100 points in the PBA.

Harris, who was monikered “The Hurricane” for his offensive wizardry, chalked up 105 points for Swift Mighty Meaty during a 151-147 victory over Ginebra San Miguel in an out-of-town game in Iloilo City on October 10, 1992.

Harris’ 105-pointer marked the highest single-game score by an individual in PBA history.

The 6-3 Harris actually made a living from the charity stripes during his historic performance.

While the then-25-year-old native of Monroe, Louisiana produced 27 field goals, including six from the three-point area, he also went 45-for-53 from the foul line.

The enigmatic and flamboyant Harris already had 59 markers by halftime.

That season, Harris additionally owned games of 98 (turning in the trick just eight days after his 105-point effort), 87 and 82 points en route to averaging 60.7 scores, 11.4 rebounds and 8.1 assists a game and powering the Mighty Meaties to the 1992 Third Conference diadem with a 4-0 sweep of 7-Up in the finals.

For good measure, Harris, who scored 60 or more in 11 of his 23 assignments, romped away with the conference’s Best Import honor.

Harris, whose U.S. collegiate odyssey brought him to Lamar University, Johnson County (Kansas) Community College, Delgado (Louisiana) Community College, Southwest Mississippi Junior College and the University of New Orleans during the mid-1980s, was never drafted by any NBA franchise in 1990 upon graduation.

But he found a way to earn a pair of 10-day deals with the Philadelphia 76ers in January-February 1991 after toiling in the defunct Continental Basketball Association, appearing six games with the Quaker City squad.

After his PBA stint, the high-flying Harris rejoined the NBA with another pair of 10-day contracts with the Boston Celtics in March 1994. That same year, he opened the new 1994-95 season again in Beantown.

Overall, Harris played 14 games in three NBA seasons with a 4.9-point clip.
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