After a nightmare finish in Game Two of the Commissioner’s Cup finals Wednesday night, B-MEG import Denzel Bowles was in no mood to talk — not even to his mother, Veronica, who has been in Manila the past couple of weeks to watch her son strut his stuff on the court.
“I just went straight to bed,” said Bowles, who had a great game with 33 points and 13 rebounds, but missed key shots and had a crucial error near the end of the game, to allow Talk ‘N Text to escape with the win and tie the series 1-all.
A day later, Bowles said he’s moved on.
“Last night, I was hurt, but today, I don’t think about that anymore. It’s in the past, there’s nothing more I can do about it,” he said.
At just 22 years old, Bowles’ game has steadily matured this conference, which has seen him bounce back from various missteps. After B-MEG lost to a Talk ‘N Text team that was playing without an import, Bowles led the Llamados to victory in four of their next five games. After back-to-back loss against Ginebra and Meralco in the playoffs, it was Bowles who stepped up and carried the team past through the quarterfinals and semifinals to lead the Purefoods franchise back to the championship round for the first time since 2010.
Bowles said he knows he has adjustments to make on his game, particularly against Talk ‘N Text veteran import Donnell Harvey, who scored 29 points in Game Two.
“I’ve got to step up on defense. I don’t really worry about my offense,” he said, adding that B-MEG remains confident in the series.
“I don’t really like talking, I just want to let my game speak for itself, but we know we can beat that team.”
‘Medyo natakam ako’
Like Bowles, Yap turned from hero to heel for the Llamados at the end of Game Two.
The two-time Most Valuable Player had, by far, his finest game in the tournament, scoring 25 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting and grabbing eight rebounds, despite matching up for most of the game against the taller Kelly Williams.
But he shot an ill-advised fadeaway jumper in the dying seconds of the game that robbed B-MEG of a better opportunity to go for a go-ahead basket.
“Medyo natakam ako,” said Yap.
“Pagkatira ko, alam kong wrong decision talaga. Sayang, kasi isang fake pa sana, kagat na yun. Pero kung pumasok naman yun…”
But he said that despite their endgame blunders, he and Bowles should keep their heads up.
“Eto yung panahon na kailangan hindi kami ma-discourage. We need to adjust and move on.”
Credit to Castro
Yap gave credit to the resilient Talk ‘N Text squad, especially Jayson Castro, who scored six straight points including the go-ahead three-pointer with less than two minutes left in the game.
“Alam naman nating magaling siya, at saka may napatunayan na talaga,” said Yap.
“Tsaka ang gameplan talaga namin sa kanya, medyo mag-sag ng konti, kasi ambilis niya eh. Kung hindi niya na-shoot yung three-points, panalo sana kami. Pero kaya nga natin sinasabing bilog ang bola eh.”
Shooting slump over?
One source of optimism for Yap and the Llamados was his shooting performance, and he deferred some of the credit to his bosom buddy Peter June Simon, the hero of B-MEG’s Game One victory.
“Medyo nalibre lang. Naka-concentrate kasi sila kay PJ,” said Yap.
The matchup against Williams, he said, came as no surprise to him. While Talk ‘N Text usually assigned defensive specialist Ryan Reyes to guard him, the Tropang Texters also had to worry about Simon.
“Ine-expect ko na yun, personally. Kasi hirap na hirap sila kay PJ, walang maka-matchup sa kanya, kaya kailangang ilagay sa kanya si Ryan.”
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