DENZEL Bowles delivered a monstrous performance in the second half to carry San Mig Coffee to a pulsating 100-92 win over Meralco and forge a rubber match in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal playoff on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Facing elimination after dropping Game One, the Mixers played with a greater sense of urgency, hustling on defense, clogging the passing lanes and denying Meralco import Eric Dawson open looks at the basket.
In the end, though, it was Bowles who rescued the Mixers from the jaws of defeat.
The 6-10 Bowles, last season’s Best Import awardee, fired 23 of his 35 points in the second half while pulling down 14 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three shot blocks in 40 minutes of play.
“Denzel’s history is, he plays big during big games. When we really needed big performances from him, he does it whether by scoring, rebounding or defense. He shows up during big games,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.
Despite the win, Cone mentioned they haven’t accomplished anything since they still have to win the deciding Game Three on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Certainly nothing to be excited about. We really need to take a business-like approach in this series. I think we did that more in Game Two,” explained the multi-titled PBA coach.
Import Eric Dawson typified Meralco’s offensive struggles, shooting just 7-of-23 to finish with 23 points. But he still collared 23 rebounds and added eight assists in a near triple-double performance.
San Mig Coffee 100 - Bowles 35, Mallari 16, Pingris 12, Simon 11, Barroca 9, Yap 7, Devance 6, De Ocampo 3, Reavis 1
Meralco 92 - Dawson 23, Cardona 14, Hodge 12, Ross 10, Hugnatan 9, Salvacion 9, Reyes 8, Buenafe 3, Manuel 2, Artadi 2
Quarterscores: 24-28, 54-42, 75-68, 100-92