IMPORT Denzel Bowles and Mark Barroca led a late-game scoring blitz as San Mig Coffee pulled off a 97-90 win over Meralco Bolts to assure itself of a top five finish in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Mixers made their move during the dying minutes, uncorking a 9-2 bomb punctuated by a vicious dunk by Bowles off Barroca’s bullet pass to open a 95-84 lead with 1:43 remaining in the game.
That proved enough to cushion a late Meralco surge as the defending champions notched their eighth win in 14 games while playing without injured forward Marc Pingris. James Yap did play but was suffering from back pain.
“I’m real proud of our guys. Ping couldn’t play tonight and James (Yap) tried to hit a couple of baskets for us,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone.
“Poor guy," Cone added, referring to Yap. "He’s had issues with leg earlier in the conference, then has had issues with sickness, now back issues this morning.
"He also had ex-wife issues so its been a tough road for him, but to his credit, he didn’t sit at the side and say I couldn’t do it. And I really appreciate that,” he added.
The Mixers played consistently on the defensive end, holding the Bolts to just 37.5 percent (33-of-88) shooting.
Meralco, which fell to 7-7, has one more chance to try to avoid dropping to the seventh seed in a worse-case scenario when it faces second-seeded Rain or Shine next Wednesday.
Bowles led the Mixers with 27 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks, while Barroca added 19 and a personal conference-high 10 assists.
San Mig Coffee 97- Bowles 27, Barroca 19, Devance 18, Simon 17, Yap 7, Mallari 3, Najorda 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 2, Alvarez 0, Ponferrada 0
Meralco 90- Dawson 29, Cardona 20, Salvacion 10, Buenafe 6, Reyes 5, Hugnatan 5, Hodge 4, Ross 2, Timberlake 0
Quarter scores: 22-15, 45-43, 80-71, 97-90