MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Denzel Bowles came out as the leading Best Import contender that he is, asserting his presence in their decisive surges in the early goings and at endgame as B-Meg repulsed Talk n Text, 88-82, in the opener of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals that drew a crowd of over 13,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.
|Talk N Text import Donnell Harvey tries to control the ball under pressure from B-Meg guard James Yap in Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup best-of-seven Finals last April 23 at the Araneta Coliseum. Photo by Marc John Villanueva for ABS-CBNnews.com.
Bowles imposed his huge presence to collect double-double numbers of 25 points and 11 rebounds, and struck hardest when it mattered most, giving the Llamados the decisive head start in the best-of-seven titular series.
The Llamados drew first blood as they outplayed the Tropang Texters in the first half and in the payoff quarter with PJ Simon providing Bowles a big support.
B-Meg, as a whole, imposed its will on Talk n Text in this game, dictating the tempo by playing good defense and controlling the boards.
“We showed our depth today. We went big (tall lineup) for a period of time helping us control the boards, and I think that’s the key,” said B-Meg coach Tim Cone.
Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes rued they gave away the game by failing to convert the charities.
“Just two words – free throws. You can’t win the game if you can’t make the foul shots,” said Reyes.
“These guys have been playing basketball since they’re in shorts pants. They should make the free throws. That’s their job. I can’t help them there,” added Reyes whose team bungled 20 of 36 charities in this contest.
Donnell Harvey matched Bowles' 25-point output but he missed four crucial charities. Kelly Williams had five missed free throws while Larry Fonacier and Jarred Dillinger three each.
Still, the Texters, who trailed by 14 points early on, got into the game in the second half only to lose just the same, hurt by the exploits of Bowles and Simon.
James Yap struggled with a 3-of-8 shooting facing the tight guarding of Ryan Reyes but the Llamados bucked the adversity with Bowles and Simon firing away eight points apiece in the fourth quarter.
“They wiped us out in the third quarter but PJ got back us in the game. He would have played the entire second half if not for fouls,” said Cone.
Cone said they have to do better if they’re to make it two in a row tomorrow.
“It’s not a good recipe to beat Talk n Text. Luckily we built a lead in the first half. We have to play basketball for four quarters, not just two or three,” said Cone.
Shooting and tending the boards better, the Llamados twice led by 14 before settling for a 48-40 cushion at halftime.
B-Meg erected its first 14-point spread at 28-14 after a 20-3 romp it made in a seven-minute stretch bridging the first two quarters.
The Llamados asserted themselves early, dominating the boards, 17-9, and converting a high 52.2 percent of their shots for a 25-14 lead in the opening canto.
Harvey was the lone bright light for Talk n Text early on, leading all scorers with 15 points in first half.
The Texters struggled with a 40-percent field shooting and, curiously, were worse from the stripe with a woeful 6-of-16 clip (37.5 percent). TnT was a 70.65-percent shooting team going into the series.