Denzel Bowles and Marc Pingris churned out double-double figures as San Mig Coffee blasted Air21, 80-66, last night to lift the defending champion Mixers into the playoffs of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Bowles, the Best Import here last season, scattered 29 points and had 16 rebounds and Pingris finished with 14 and the same number of boards before limping out in the fourth quarter because of a sprained ankle.
The Mixers hardly felt the zero contribution of the ailing two-time MVP James Yap as San Mig improved to 7-6 and could even qualify in the upper half of the standings in the playoffs.
Bowles scored 11 in the first period and already had 19 at the half, which the Mixers handily took, 39-29. Pingris had 10 of his total in the same span.
The loss was the eighth in 13 games for the Express, who remained in eighth spot nonetheless.
Yap was held scoreless for just the third time in his career, and the second since July 7 last year. He missed the last eight San Mig practices but came off the bench to play 14 minutes and give his squad a morale boost.
“That’s the character we’re trying to instill to this team,” San Mig coach Tim Cone said in praise of Yap. “And when you don’t have James available, it sure is nice to have PJ (Simon) out there.”
Simon was the third Mixer in twin digits with 12.
The San Mig defense held Air21 to just 45 points in the first three periods as the Mixers took leads of as many as 18 points.
Meanwhile, Talk ‘N Text has enlisted the services of Jerome Jordan, a 7-foot Jamaican who saw brief action for the New York Knicks in the NBA.
Jordan will replace Donnell Harvey, who left the team over the weekend to attend to a family emergency in the United States.
SAN MIG COFFEE 80—Bowles 29, Pingris 14, Simon 12, Barroca 9, Devance 7, Gaco 6, Mallari 2, de Ocampo 1, Najorda 0, Yap 0, Gonzales 0, Reavis 0.
AIR21 66—Canaleta 26, Dunigan 18, Isip 10, Omolon 4, Menor 2, Custodio 2, Cortez 2, Arboleda 2, Atkins 0, Sena 0, Wiklson 0, Baclao 0, Ritualo 0.
Quarters: 20-16; 39-29; 60-45; 80-66