DENZEL Bowles made sure a first-ever championship won’t slip away.

Bowles made two pressure-packed charities to send the game into overtime and scored the extension’s first 10 points for B-Meg in a 90-84 win over Talk N Text Sunday in their deciding game for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship at the packed Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“He’s too young to know,” said Llamados coach Tim Cone of the man who just turned 23 years old Tuesday last week but scattered a PBA career-high 39 points on top of 21 rebounds in the most important game of his life thus far.

“Maybe two or three more years and he’ll say, ‘To heck with it, I can’t win this game.’ But right now, he’s simply too young to know,” added Cone.

The 4-3 win over the defending champion was the ninth championship in all for the franchise formerly known as Purefoods and the 14th overall for Cone, who took over just before the season started.

All because of Bowles, who got plenty of help from his teammates. PJ Simon added 14 points, Excelroof-PBA Press Corps Finals MVP James Yap 12 and Josh Urbiztondo 11, including a key layup in the dying seconds.

Clearly, it was Bowles who should hog all the credit in Cone’s loss, while coaching Alaska, to Sunkist in the 1995 All-Filipino, the last time a Game 7 went into OT.

His pressure-packed charities completed B-Meg’s fightback from a 60-68 fourth quarter deficit and tied the game up at 76, only 1.2 seconds left.

Ensuring his efforts won’t go to waste, Bowles completely took over in the first four minutes of overtime, his last twinner pegging an 86-81 count.

“Those were the biggest shots of my career, ever,” said Bowles, who shed tears of joy after making the charities. “I didn’t want us to lose the championship because of me and I’m glad for the opportunity.”

Jimmy Alapag equaled his season-high with 29 points, but it was simply not to be for the season-opening Philippine Cup titlists in a game watched by close to 22,000 fans.

Keys were the loss of Donnell Harvey and Ali Peek to fouls in the final 3:17 of regulation and 2:37 of OT, respectively, plus left knee injury Ryan Reyes suffered just past the midway point of the fourth period and the cramps that sidelined Alapag spelled the biggest difference.

There was also the fact Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo were hardly factors after combining for only eight points, just two days after they combined for 40 in a 92-82 win in Game 6.

Castro missed his first eight attempts and did not score until the final 1:45 mark of the third quarter and set up Harvey for a short stab that gave the Texters a 61-56 lead going into the final period.

Helping TNT stretch the difference to a high of 68-60 was Alapag’s seventh triple for the night, again from way out.

Averaging just 8.7 points through the first six games and only mainly through an 18-point performance in the series opener, Simon already had 11 points to complement Bowles’ 13 at the half.

Still, TNT took a 35-34 edge, no little thanks to Alapag also scoring 11 and Harvey having eight and seven rebounds.

With Yap scoring all his first seven points in the first nine minutes of the game and Simon joining the fray, B-Meg raced to early six-point leads, but the game remained a back-and-forth one until TNT’s third quarter surge that spilled over to the fourth.(NC)

The scores:

B-Meg 90 – Bowles 39, Simon 14, Yap J 12, Urbiztondo 11, Villanueva 5, De Ocampo Y 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 R.
3, Reyes 2, Williams 0, Gamalinda 0, Carey 0.

Quarterscores: 21-18, 34-35, 56-61, 76-76, 90-84


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