DENZEL Bowles won his war against Eric Dawson as San Mig Coffee eliminated Meralco to advance to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
But the reigning Best Import of the tournament immediately paid tribute to one of the most prolific imports to play in Asia’s pioneering pro league in recent times.
After battling each other for 48 minutes, the victor and the vanquished found themselves hugging it out at mid-court of the Smart-Araneta Coliseum following the tightly-fought contest, with Bowles offering consoling words to the do-it-all Dawson.
“It’s just our way of showing our mutual respect,” said the 6-foot-11 Bowles of the gesture. “Two great players showing respect. I was just glad for that moment.”
Bowles poured in 23 points, 11 rebounds, and had three block shots for the Mixers, figures which Dawson matched with his 24 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists.
Unfortunately, only one between them can win.
Bowles acknowledged Dawson was a good match up for him, and the Meralco import said the feeling is mutual.
“I told him that it was a good game, and good luck in the semis and for their next games,” said the 6-foot-8 Dawson, a forlorn figure on court with head bowed after the final buzzer.
But the Meralco import vowed to return and take another shot at a championship if and when given the opportunity.
“I like it here (PBA). The people are open-hearted and kind. The PBA for me is a great experience and hopefully, I can come back in the future,” he said.
Dawson capped his first ever stint here by ending up as the leading scorer among imports with an average of 30.7 points per game, twice finishing with 50 points or more, including 57 in a game against Petron.