DENZEL Bowles' arrival has reinvigorated a Purefoods team still smarting from a humiliating loss to expansion side KIA Motors - and a controversy caused by import Daniel Orton's post-game rant.
“It feels good to see D (Bowles’ nickname) back," said Joe Devance at the end of Purefoods' afternoon practice on Saturday at the Ronac Gym. "He’s familiar with our system already, and we felt better because when he showed up, everybody’s happy.”
He comes in at a critical time for the Hotshots, who are smarting from back-to-back losses and were left in disarray when a tirade by Orton against KIA playing-coach Manny Pacquiao and the referees led to a P250,000 fine - and his eventual banishment.
“Our practice today is a lot better than the previous, but hopefully, we can get the job done, because we’re still not for sure (of winning against Ginebra), but we’re in good shape with D.”
The feeling is mutual.
Bowles, who has averaged 24.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 blocks in 43 PBA career games, said he is thrilled to be back after spending the last few months in China. He will make his debut against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
“It’s always fun to come back to Manila because I get a lot of love here, so it’s always fun to come back at Purefoods. Now we gotta win,” Bowles told Spin.ph.
Looking trim and sharp after his first practice with the team, Bowles, accompanied by coach Tim Cone, headed to the PBA office to have his height measurement. He heaved a sigh of relief when he was measured at 6-8 13/16 or just inside the 6-9 height limit.
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And now that questions about his height are over and done with, Bowles, said his next immediate goal is to bring the team back to playoff prominence.
“I’ll just try to acclimatize myself, because I just got here, but I’m familiar with the team because we all jell,” said the 25-year-old Bowles, admitting that he is out to atone for Purefoods' playoff loss to Alaska the last time he was here in 2013.
“We made it to the semis (in 2013) and we won the first game, then got swept (by Alaska) so I definitely want to get back to that, keep winning and be successful,” Bowles said.