DENZEL Bowles said he is a much better player now than he was when he won a Best Import award and led Purefoods to a championship in his first tour of duty in the PBA.
“When I came here in my first year, I played just with a lot of energy and played hard. But now, I’m a lot smarter,” Bowles said shorty after powering the Hotshots to a vengeful 96-85 win over Meralco on Friday night.
"I know my spots and I know exactly where I’ll get the ball."
The 6-9 Bowles said experience has made his game a lot more mature while a five-month stint with the Jilin Northeast Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association has honed his mid-range jumper, which was one of his main weapons in bringing down the Bolts.
The numbers bear out Bowles' claim.
The 25-year-old Purefoods import is averaging PBA career-best numbers of 33.4 points, 15.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in his third tour of duty in the PBA.
He banged in a personal conference-high 37 poiints on an efficient 16-of-25 shooting against the Bolts, to go along with 21 rebounds and three blocked shots as Purefoods won a fourth successive game to end the the eliminations with a league-best 8-3 card.
“My game has transformed the last couple of years. I’m just being comfortable with the ball," Bowles said. "In China, I shoot a lot of pick and pops and mid-range jumpers.”
Purefoods top gunner James Yap agreed that Bowles' game has matured a lot compared to his first two stints with Purefoods.
He's also healthier, Yap added.
“Maganda ang nilalaro sa tingin ko, kasi yung last conference na nandito siya, sa pangalawang punta niya (2013 season), may tama ang tuhod niya, kaya jump shot lang siya ng jump shot at di masyado sumasaksak,” observed Yap.
“Pero ngayon, healthy na siya, pumayat at nag-mature, then kundisyon pa.”