Farewell Denzel Bowles, I Hope You Don’t Come Back


There was too much pressure. The moment scared the shit out of him. His wits were just blown outside The Big Dome. His face, stricken with so much fear, reminded me of Primrose Everdeen’s (after she got chosen as District 12’s tribute at the Reaping). Only this time, there was no Katniss to step in for him.

Unfortunately, unlike Dirk, Denzel Bowles doesn’t hum David Hasselhoff songs at the freethrow line. It was he, the 15-foot line, 21,046 live pairs of eyes on him, and the chance to send Game 7 of the PBA Finals to overtime. It can’t get any bigger than that. The result of one miss? Disaster. Heartbreak. Depression for B-Meg Planet. The Llamados’ championship dreams would instantly crumble like an Uno-Stacko.

I bet you expected him to miss. I did too. Tim Cone did. Only a man as brave as Andres Bonifacio could make those freethrows. Only a man as audacious as Larry Flint could lose himself in that moment. Young Denzel Bowles was bound to miss.

But he didn’t.

Somehow, some way, he made those freethrows.

It turns out that despite the scared look, Denzel Bowles was as brave as Andres Bonifacio, and as audacious as Larry Flint.

2 ginormous freethrows at the end of regulation and a couple of jumpers in OT put Denzel Bowles on the map. It was, by far, the biggest triumph of his career. He led the Llamados past a Machine, past a Dynasty. He now belongs to the pantheon of PBA imports. Billy Ray Bates. Norman Black. David Thirdkill. Tonny Harris. Kenny Redfield. Lamont Strothers. Sean Chambers. Denzel Bowles.

More importantly, he shot his way to NBA training camp invites from the Spurs, Warriors and Raptors. It was his size, his ability to make medium-range j’s, his capability to understand such an idiosyncratic offensive scheme, and most of all, his heart and character that triggered NBA scouts to ring him up.

Farewell Denzel Bowles, I hope you don’t come back.

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