In the ultimate showdown before two great squads, it came down to the team with the Best Import.
Denzel Bowles made two pressure-packed free throws to force overtime with 1.2 seconds to go, before taking over in the extra period to lift the B-MEG Llamados to the Commissioner’s Cup crown over the defending champions Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, 90-84.
B-MEG was down by two points in regulation, 76-74, with 13 seconds left after Ali Peek split his free throws. In the ensuing possession, James Yap missed on a drive to the basket, grabbed the offensive rebound, and passed to an open Bowles, who was fouled by Kelly Williams with 1.2 seconds left.
In the biggest test of his young career, the 23-year-old Bowles hit the game-tying free throws to the delight of the mammoth Sunday crowd of 21,046 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
“I was so scared. It was a real breakthrough for my career,” he said about his free throws.
Bowles then took over in overtime, scoring 11 of B-MEG’s 14 points to put the game away.
“I’m so proud of my team,” said Bowles after the game.
“I’m so glad I came to B-MEG planet. I’m so glad I won my first championship with this team.”
The Llamados’ victory spoiled an epic performance by Jimmy Alapag, the leader of the Tropang Texters, who finished with 29 points before being carried out with cramps. The Llamados took advantage of multiple personnel losses on the Talk ‘N Text side, with import Donnell Harvey and Ali Peek fouling out, Ranidel De Ocampo succumbing to cramps, and Ryan Reyes suffering a knee injury late in the game.
Bowles finished with 39 points, 21 rebounds, and three blocks. Peter June Simon broke out of his slump to chip in 14 points, while Yap, who scored 12 points, won finals Most Valuable Player honors. Josh Urbiztondo added 11 points, for the Purefoods franchise, which won its ninth title in team history and fourth in import-laden conferences.
B-MEG 90 – Bowles 39, Simon 14, Yap 12, Urbiztondo 11, Villanueva 5, De Ocampo 4, Devance 2, Pingris 2, Barroca 1, Intal 0, Reavis 0
Talk ‘N Text 84 – Alapag 29, Harvey 16, Fonacier 11, Peek 10, Dillinger 8, Castro 5, De Ocampo 3, Reyes 2, Gamalinda 0, Williams 0, Carey 0
Quarters: 21-18, 34-35, 56-61, 76-76, 90-84
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» ‘More championships’: Ranidel De Ocampo cherishes individual award but wishes for team success