TIM Cone is happy to see comebacking import Denzel Bowles rediscover his old form in leading Purefoods to the PBA Commissioner's Cup playoffs, but the coach has one major concern.
“We’ve won four in a row now so we’re obviously doing something right,” Cone said. “But we’ve got a little bit too Denzel dependent and we have the tendency to let him bail us out, so we have to execute well on the offensive side."
Bowles has lived up to his moniker 'Monster Bowles' over the team’s last three games, averaging 33.6 points, 17.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.0 blocks since the All-Star break.
The former James Madison University standout dropped 11 of his 30 points in the three extra periods to lift Purefoods Star to a thrilling 118-117 win over Talk ‘N Text two weeks ago.
Bowles continued his scintillating performance two days later, scoring 21 of his 34 points in the third period to lead Purefoods Star to a 103-96 win over Barako Bull.
On Friday, the 25-year-old Bowles fired 37 points, including the dagger jumper off Reynel Hugnatan to lead the Hotshots to a 96-85 win over the Meralco Bolts.
Cone said he is no doubt delighted by the 6-foot-9 Bowles’ performance, but insisted it should only come as a “bonus” under the Hotshots’ scheme of things which is the triangle offense.
“Denzel does such a great job on offense, so we have the tendency to rely on him, but he needs to be the bonus because our bread and butter needs to be the execution,” stressed the 57-year-old two-time grand slam coach.
Cone said the team will be using the next few days to revisit its offense and improve the execution before the start of the playoffs on Friday, where the Hotshots will be coming in as the No. 3 seeds.
Come the knockout rounds, Purefoods, Cone said, can't depend on Bowles to bail them out time and time again since it would make the team predictable - and therefore easier to stop for other teams.
“We can’t rely on Denzel every time because he won’t be in a good rhythm everyday," he said. "Teams are gonna scheme as we go along, so guys are gonna have to step up and rely more on their execution.”