Denzel Bowles credits 'practice player' Blakely for Purefoods resurgence. Here's why
Denzel Bowles says Marqus Blakely brings energy to Purefoods practices. Jerome Ascano

PUREFOODS Star is on a roll late in the single-round eliminations, but Denzel Bowles isn’t taking all the credit.

Instead, the former PBA Best Import is deflecting the credit to Marqus Blakely, the team’s stand-in-import-turned-practice-player in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.

“He (Blakely) definitely pushes us to another level. That’s what the team wants and needs because he’s familiar with the system,” the 6-foot-9 Bowles said shortly after leading the Hotshots to a 103-96 win over Barako Bull.

Bowles admitted that the energetic Blakely adds a new dynamics to the Hotshots’ regular practice as they prepare themselves for the tough playoff grind.

“He just brings another dynamic to the team.”

Blakely is back in town to undergo therapy on his left shoulder, which he hurt during the Hotshots’ conference opening-game against GlobalPort Batang Pier.

The two-time PBA Best Import currently joins the team’s practice while he prepares this early for the Hotshots’ campaign in the season-ending Governors Cup.

[See Blakely believes Purefoods still on track for top-two spot]

Bowles, meantime, remained in red-hot form after playing the hero's role in a 118-117 triple-overtime win over Talk ‘N Text on Saturday in Davao.

The Hotshots only had one day to prepare against the Energy since landing in Manila on Sunday, but Bowles refused to let his team down.

The game saw the sweet-shooting American big man go on a scoring binge in the third period, firing 21 of his 34 pointsto help the Hotshots to gain control on the way to their seventh win in 10 starts.

Fil-Am wingman Alex Mallari said that with the playoffs set to start next week, back-up players like him need to step up in order to keep starters like James Yap and Peter June Simon fresh.

“I like the challenge because coach (Tim Cone) gives us the chance to step up,” said the left-handed Mallari, who is averaging career-high numbers of 9.3 points and 3.6 rebounds this conference.

“The guys that don’t start get more playing time, which gives us the confidence to play more minutes,” he added.

Purefoods will try to close out its single-round assignment with a win when it faces Meralco on Friday.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava