Star’s playoff hopes suffered a big blow as former Best Import Denzel Bowles is set to leave for United States to be with his family following the death of a close relative.
Hotshots board governor Rene Pardo confirmed the development to FOX Sports on Thursday.
“Namatayan si Denzel, I think grandfather yata niya. Nagusap nga kami ni (coach) Jason na if he wants to go, then let him go and be with his family,” Pardo said.
Bowles was permitted not to join the team’s practice the last 2 days, according to Pardo.
The Hotshots are coming off a stinging 87-92 setback to arch rival Barangay Ginebra Kings on Sunday in a marquee match up witnessed before over 16,000 fans at the Big Dome.
The sweet-shooting Bowles, who averaged 29.2 points through the 1st 4 games, was held down to a personal conference-low 15 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the floor by Ginebra’s “Twin Towers” Greg Slagughter and Japeth Aguilar.
The former PBA Best Import had 2 chances to help Star secure the win, but Bowles muffed his last 2 attempts as Star dropped to 1-4.
Pardo said they are looking at the possibility of bringing back Marqus Blakely, the same import that led the Purefoods franchise to Governors Cup titles in 2013 and 2014.
The amiable Star executive said Blakely could fly in any time since he’ll be coming from South Korea.
Meantime, forward Marc Pingris remains optimistic that Star will be able to overcome the latest setback even though the Hotshots will be facing defending champion Tropang TNT on Sunday.
“Ang alam ko naghahanap pa sila (coaching staff) ng kapalit,” said Pingris.
If he’d have his way, the 6-foot-5 Pingris is hopeful that Star could bring an import who can be a good post operator and defender at the same time.
“Kailangan pa rin namin ng malaki, kasi para may panapat Kami sa malalaking imports,” he said. — By Richard Dy