Bowles, Barroca lead San Mig past Meralco

San Mig Coffee appears to have the right mix going into the playoffs.

With import Denzel Bowles and point guard Mark Barroca leading the way, the Mixers essayed a confidence-building 97-90 victory over the stubborn Meralco Bolts Saturday night to provisionally gain solo third in the PBA Commissioners Cup at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

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Despite the absence of defensive demon Marc Pingirs and another sub-par outing from former two-time MVP James Yap, San Mig Coffee drew another big performance from the 6-foot-10 Bowles, who dominated with 27 points and five blocks while the 5-foot-10 Barroca flourished with 19 markers, 10 assists, five boards and three steals.

Those exploits coupled with a blinding 14-6 onslaught in the crunch enabled the Mixers to post their eighth win in 14 outings, moving half-a-game ahead of sister teams Petron Blaze and Barangay Ginebra, both toting identical 7-6 marks.

The Bolts, who could only come to within 80-83 off a Chris Ross undergoal stab midway through the fourth, suddenly floundered in the face of the Mixers’ strong push and, in the process, dropped to seventh with a 6-7 card.

Meanwhile, PJ Simon, who contributed 19 points for San Mig Coffee, lost a pair of teeth after getting smacked in the face by Meralco defender Cliff Hodge at the 6:04 mark of the fourth.
 
MVP: Bowles is not the reigning Best Import for nothing. The former James Madison University standout was a force unleashed anew against the Bolts, easily asserting himself in the lane early before anchoring the team’s defense on Eric Dawson and Co. as Barroca and the local Mixers finished off the job.
 
X-Factor: Forced to become a scoring option with Yap and Simon out, Barroca proved he can be provide the necessary goods, firing away seven big points in the fourth including a back-breaking, high-looping jumper that virtually sealed the deal for the Mixers with 27.4 to go.
 
Game Turning Point: When the Bolts threatened anew within three, the Mixers showed enough poise under duress, reeling off a decisive 14-6 surge en route to another victory.

 
Quotable Quotes
: “Everybody needs to step up. Ang sa’kin kasi, leadership lang talaga sa loob ng court. Papunta na kami sa playoffs kaya kailangan na namin makakuha ng momentum,” stated Barroca.

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“We’re proud of our guys. I do appreciate the character of our team. Mark stepped up, Alex (Mallari) stepped up defensively, Joe Devance had an outstanding game tonight and he made the right plays. Then there's Denzel,” said SanMig Coffee coach Tim Cone.
 
SAN MIG COFFEE (97) – Bowles 27, Barroca 19, Devance 18, Simon 17, Yap 7, Mallari 3, Najorda 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 2, Ponferada 0, Alvarez 0, Gaco 0, Pacana 0, Gonzales 0.

MERALCO (90) – Dawson 29, Cardona 20, Salvacion 10, Buenafe 9, Borboran 6, Reyes 5, Hugnatan 5, Hodge 4, Ross 2, Timberlake 0.
Quarterscores: 22-15, 45-43, 80-71, 97-90

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