Purefoods not giving up on Denzel Bowles, set to send coach to China to measure import prospect
Should Denzel Bowles (right) make the height limit, Purefoods plans to tap Marqus Blakely as a stand-in import while waiting for Bowles to be available for the PBA Commissioner's Cup. Jerome Ascano

IT seems Purefoods Star is going all out in its bid to bring back one-time PBA Best Import awardee Denzel Bowles for the Commissioner’s Cup.

Bowles, who led the Hotshots (then known as the B-Meg Llamados) to the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup, is showing great form for the Jilin Northeast Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association, averaging 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest.

Problem is, Purefoods Star board governor Rene Pardo said the PBA office already informed them that the sweet-shooting Bowles was last measured by the league to be 6-10 - or an inch above the allowable 6-9 height for teams that finished in the top 8 of the Philippine Cup.

Purefoods, though, is not giving up.

Because of Bowles’ grasp of the triangle offense of coach Tim Cone and his understanding of the PBA brand of basketball, the Hotshots are giving him the benefit of the doubt and are willing to send one of their coaches to China to personally measure the former James Madison University standout.

“Gusto niya (Bowles) talaga maglaro sa amin. Eh sinabihan kami ng PBA na mahigit 6-10 nga daw si Denzel. But probably, by first week of January, we’ll send one of our coaching staff to China para masukatan si Denzel,” Pardo told Spin.ph on Monday.

[See Denzel Bowles on top of Purefoods wish list, but there are two hitches]

The amiable Purefoods top official said Bowles even measured himself in China, saying he stood within the 6-9 height limit.

“Pero siyempre, di naman natin alam kung paano niya sinukatan ang sarili, so we would send someone there na lang sa China para masukatan siya talaga,” he added.

But even if Bowles makes the height requirement, there is still one problem as he won't be available to join Purefoods until early February. The Commissioner's Cup begins on January 27.

But should Bowles pass the height measurement, Pardo said they are willing to fly in Marqus Blakely, another old reliable import under Cone, to hold the fort while the 25-year-old finishes his commitment in China.

“Ang alam namin, after February 5 pa magiging available si Denzel, so kung okay siya sa sukat, willing kaming palaruin muna temporarily ng ilang games si Marqus,” said Pardo.

Blakely has led the Hotshots to back-to-back Governors Cup championships the past two seasons, averaging 21.6 points, 15.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 blocks.

Bowles last played for the Hotshots in the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup, where Purefoods, then known as San Mig, lost to eventual champion Alaska, 3-1 in the semifinals. He averaged 22.7 points, 15. Rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 blocks.


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