DENZEL Bowles has been there before and while he doesn’t sound cocky, the reigning PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Import declared that the road to the championship still passes through San Miguel Coffee.
And perhaps that’s a fair warning to top seed team Alaska Aces which engage the defending champion Mixers in a best-of-five semifinals series starting on Saturday.
“I’m sure they (Aces) are looking forward to playing us. And I’m pretty sure if they can get through us, they can go out and win a championship so we want to win another championship,” Bowles said.
The Mixers needed to beat the Meralco Bolts twice in a row to advance in the next round and arrange their series match up against the Aces, a team that has yet to win against San Mig in their last eight meetings despite finishing the eliminations with an 11-3 (win-loss) record – the best the franchise had in the post-Tim Cone era.
“(After eight straight wins), I hope we can go 11-0 (against the Aces). But it’s the playoffs. It’s gonna be tough to sweep them. But I’m sure its gonna be an interesting series,” said Bowles, who finished the series-clinching 90-82 Game Three win against the Bolts on Wednesday with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The 6-foot-10 Bowles is aware the Aces had already been scouting them since Alaska’s coaching staff led by Luigi Trillo was on hand at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to watch the Mixers dismantle the Bolts.
Bowles, a product of James Madison University, added he’s happy to see his teammates step up big especially the past six games when resident superstar James Yap struggled offensively because of a flu and a bad back.
“We came out sluggish against Meralco in the first game but we fight through and James had a great Game (Three),” he said.
“PJ (Simon) has really been stepping up. (Marc) Pingris also, and everybody else is stepping up for James.”