Llamados dethrone Texters in overtimeBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Denzel Bowles was crying after making two critical free throws with 1.2 seconds left in regulation, then had the enemy crying in overtime.
After sending Game 7 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals to extension, Bowles hit 10 straight points and brought B-Meg to the Promised Land with a 90-84 decision of a gallant Talk ‘N Text crew before more than 21,000 screaming souls at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
B-Meg rallied from a six-point deficit with two minutes left in the fourth period with Bowles capping the fightback with the free throws that forged overtime at 76-all and sent him to tears.
Then Bowles underscored his status as the tournament’s Best Import by single-handedly unseating the defending champion Tropang Texters in the first-ever overtime of a Finals Game 7 in 17 seasons.
“I think he was emotional in a good way,”
B-Meg coach Tim Cone said of his 23-year-old import. “I told him to stay calm in overtime, to understand what we are doing here. I didn’t see any panic in him and he suddenly felt he could do no wrong.”
Bowles was perfect in the first four minutes of extension after hitting five straight shots that made it 86-81 heading into the final 56.8 second. His last field goal—a jumper that came off a power move against Kelly Williams —triggered a wild celebration in the stands.
“I have absolutely zero idea about what happened out there,” Cone added when asked to explain the comeback. “It was pretty amazing. But I think you have to do amazing stuff to be able to beat a team like Talk ‘N Text.
“I don’t believe I’m sitting here (for the championship interview). I know I don’t deserve it, but I’ll take it.”
James Yap had five crucial points in the fourth period and finished with 12. He went on to win the Excelroof-PBA Press Corps’ Finals MVP award with averages of 19.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in the series.
Bowles finished with a PBA career-high 39 points on top of 21 rebounds and three blocks.
“This is my first time on a winning team,” Bowles told reporters later. “I just didn’t want my team to lose the championship on me (while taking those free throws). This is a breakthrough for me and my family and it’s beautiful.”
Talk ‘N Text fought like a champion and lost like one.
After playing with command for most of the night, the Texters lost import Donnell Harvey to fouls with still 3:17 left, Ryan Reyes to a knee injury close to two minutes before that, and Jimmy Alapag to cramps with 13.4 seconds left in regulation.
Alapag scored 29 points, his best this season, to lead the Texters.
He hit 3-of-5 of his attempts from beyond the arc in the first half and led the Texters with 11 points as they came back from a six-point deficit in the first quarter to take a 35-34 lead.
The win upheld an uncanny trend that saw B-Meg also taking Games 1, 3 and 5 with TNT prevailing in Games 2, 4 and 6.
It was also the second straight time that the Texters lost a championship in Game 7. The last came in the Governors’ Cup last year when Petron Blaze, a sister team of B-Meg, derailed their bid for a first-ever Grand Slam title feat.
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.
Quarters: 21-18, 34-35, 56-61, 76-76, 90-84