DENZEL Bowles responded with a monster performance after a dismal debut to power defending champion San Mig Coffee to a morale-boosting 90-82 win over Talk ‘N Text in a rematch of last season’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals protagonists on Sunday at the Big Dome.
The 23-year-old Bowles, the best import during the Mixers' run to last year's championship, atoned for his poor 12-point performance on Friday night in a loss to Rain or Shine by punishing the Tropang Texters with 29 points, 23 rebounds and three blocks in 42 minutes.
He reserved his best in the final period when he exploded for 14 points while controlling the boards with ferocity to finally give the Mixers their first victory after opening the conference with three straight defeats.
“We had to realize the game is hard. And we’re gonna go through some tough times. But it doesn’t matter how we fall down, but how we get up. It’s so true in life and it’s so true in basketball,” San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone said after pulling off the stunning victory.
Cone said he felt really humiliated especially after the Mixers lost their last two assignments by an average margin of 26.5 points.
“In our first three games, and especially the last two, that’s the first time in my career na tambakan. But for us to come back with one day preparation. And Denzel playing well, he really inspired us tonight. He got all those rebounds and scoring for us,” added Cone.
San Mig's defense was also outstanding as it held Talk ‘N Text to just 4-of-21 shooting in the final period to turn the game around.
PJ Simon led San Mig Coffee’s locals with 13 points while Marc Pingris added 12 while picking up the scoring slack from star forward James Yap, who could only finish with six after being going into foul trouble early.
Jason Castro led the Tropang Texters with 18 points, while Keith Benson added 16 and 17 boards. The 6-11 Talk ‘N Text import though couldn’t go all-out defensively in the final quarter after picking up his fifth personal foul with less than three minutes to play.
The Texters dropped to 2-2.
San Mig Coffee 90 - Bowles 29, Simon 13, Pingris 12, Devance 11, Barroca 9, Yap 6, Gaco 4, Najorda 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 2, Mallari 0
Talk ‘N Text 82 - Castro 18, Benson 16, Reyes 14, Alapag 8, Al-Hussaini 7, Fonacier 6, Williams 4, Carey 4, Dillinger 3, De Ocampo 2, Aban 0
Quarterscores: 17-17, 44-41, 63-68, 90-82