Ricardo Ratliffe gets Star nod, but door still open for Denzel Bowles return
Star has been unbeaten since Ricardo Ratliffe came over to replace Denzel Bowles. Jerome Ascano

JASON Webb finds himself in the same boat as Alaska counterpart Alex Compton, albeit just a little bit.

The Star coach also faces the dilemma of whether to stick with current import Ricardo Ratliffe or take the risk of recalling the services of old hand Denzel Bowles in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Ratliffe was brought in as a standby import as Bowles hurriedly went back to the US on an emergency call following a death in the family.

But the Hotshots had been unbeaten since the former Jones Cup MVP came over and took the spot of Bowles, leading the team to three straight victories that allowed Star to move up in the standings with an even 4-4 record.

 Webb so far, has not concealed his utter liking on the work ethic of the muscular, 6-foot-8 import.

“Ricardo has just been really playing well for us, you can’t say enough with the amount of work he has put in into this team,” said Webb. “He definitely made this team look good.”

The Hotshots at the moment has put Bowles, the former league Best Import, in the injury list, meaning the team can tap his services once it deemed it’s proper to bring him back again.

The situation of the Hotshots is almost the same as what Alaska faces, although the Aces’ predicament is slightly a tricky one.

The General Milling franchise brought in Shane Edwards as temporary replacement as original choice and resident import Rob Dozier tries to get back in shape as he recovers from a plantar facilities injury in his foot.

With Edwards around, Alaska went to register five straight wins to surge on top of the standings and making the 6-foot-Dozier look dispensable for the multi-titled franchise.

But back-to-back losses by the Aces to the San Miguel Beermen and Mahindra Enforcers seemed to have opened the door anew for the possible return of Dozier.

Webb said so far Ratliffe has been up to the task on what he’s supposed to do for the team, saying ‘he’s proven all the accolades about him being a winner, and we’ve seen why he’s a winner.”

The coming two games of the Hotshots will be a an acid test for Ratliffe as they face the streaking Beermen and the Aces.

“We’re gonna have our hands full against those teams,” said the young Star mentor.


Webb would not categorically say Bowles is now out of the picture, although sources within the team said there were disappointments with the way the former Best Import played his final game against Barangay Ginebra in which he was held to just 15 points on 6 of 18 shooting in a 92-87 loss.

For the moment, all the Star mentor would say is the team is sticking it out with Ratliffe.

“Right now he’s definitely staying, definitely staying,” he said. “He’s made this team a better team and that’s a credit to him.”

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