PUREFOODS gets an opportunity to exorcise the ghost of its past when it faces playoff tormentor Meralco in a crucial PBA Commissioner’s Cup game Friday that plays a strong implication in the team’s bid for a top two finish at the end of the eliminations.
The defending champion Hotshots are currently tied on top with Talk ‘N Text with identical 7-3 record and can close out their elimination round campaign on a high note. T
Purefoods can officially clinch one of the top two berths in the playoffs if Rain or Shine (6-3) splits its last two outings.
Other than a higher seeding in the playoffs, Purefoods’ Joe Devance said the Philippine Cup playoff debacle suffered by the Hotshots at the hands of the Bolts is still fresh in their minds.
“We’re still pretty mad about that (loss to Meralco in the playoffs last conference),” Devance said on the eve of the 7 p.m. grudge match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We have a score to even.”
Purefoods is peaking just at the right time, having won its last three games by beating San Miguel (113-105 in overtime), Talk ’N Text (118-117 triple overtime), and Barako Bull (103-96).
In all three wins, comebacking import Denzel Bowles put up monstrous numbers by averaging 33 points, 16.3 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks.
The 6-foot-7 Devance said since reinforcing the team last month, Bowles has gotten more comfortable playing the triangle offense again.
“You can tell with the way he (Bowles) plays and how we’re winning,” noted the left-handed Fil-Am forward.
“He was rusty with what we’re trying to do against Ginebra, but now, he’s a lot more confident with what we’re doing.”
Meantime, Meralco coach Norman Black is just more concerned with winning the team’s last two games to have a better chance at getting the coveted ‘top two.’
“Simply put, we have to win to have any chance to get the twice-to-beat advantage,” said Black, whose team is still smarting from a 108-103 double overtime loss to Alaska.
“We are playing a very good Purefoods team so we will have to play with a lot of energy and we must execute on both ends of the court.”
Import Josh Davis is expected to anchor Meralco’s defense and offense once more.
The former San Diego State standout is averaging 33 points, 18 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in his last two outings.