MORE than treating it as a grudge match, Denzel Bowles is just going to enjoy Star’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup showdown against rival Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, marking the first meeting between him and his former coach Tim Cone.
Bowles came over for his fourth tour of duty with the Purefoods franchise this conference, only to find out Cone is no longer with the team where he won a championship in the 2012 edition of the mid-season tournament as a young 22-year-old import.
Now that they’re on opposing sides, Bowles said he’ll try to live and enjoy the moment.
“You get to see coach Tim not on our side. It’s my first time, so I’m sure its gonna be fun,” said the former Best Import awardee, who came away with 28 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in the Hotshots’ 122-103 whipping of Blackwater on Wednesday night.
In contrast, Cone doesn’t relish seeing himself going up against his former import, who he believes will be out to prove himself in the marquee match-up between the league’s two most popular ballclubs.
“He’s a stud and he’s going to be motivated playing Ginebra. Another guy we have to worry about,” Cone said prior to the start of the conference.
Curiously, the Hotshots and Kings go to the 5 p.m. encounter at the Smart Araneta Coliseum both carrying identical single victory marks that have placed both teams near the bottom of the standings.
Bowles, a product of James Madison University, however sees his team having an advantage against Ginebra.
“I think we’re the hungrier team,” he said. “That’s what this win is all about.”
Still, Bowles stressed it’s just a basketball game and no matter what, he’ll always have the utmost respect for Cone, who he sees as a second father.
“Whatever happens inside the court, we’ll still be family and all,” he said.