Denzel Bowles talks about playing against Tim Cone

As strange as it may seem to see Star import Denzel Bowles getting instruction from a coach other than Tim Cone, the former Best Import said he considers it fun to face the PBA’s all-time winning coach beginning in the Commissioner’s Cup.

“It’s fun playing against Ginebra, especially playing against Ginebra now with coach Tim there and Joe (Devance),” Bowles told FOX Sports with a smile, shortly after the Hotshots fell to the Kings, 92-89 on a buzzer-beating, three-point shot by import Othyus Jeffers.

Bowles said he’s well aware of Cone’s move to the Gin Kings during the offseason since he’s been in touch with majority of the players from Star.

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But while Cone now calls the shots at Ginebra’s star-studded roster, Bowles still considers the American coach part of family.

“It’s all love and family and I just said good luck to him,” he said.

But come the opening of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup next Wednesday, the 6-foot-9 Bowles said the Hotshots will be all business as they try to rebound from a sorry 9th-place finish in the Philippine Cup.

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Since arriving from the U.S. last week, Bowles has already played 3 practice games with Star as he tries to work within rookie coach Jason Webb’s up-tempo system — a completely different style as opposed to Cone’s patented triangle offense.

“I feel like we can beat anybody though. We’re coming together as team, and we’re growing with coach Jason though,” said Bowles, who owns PBA averages of 26.26 points, 13.37 rebounds, 2.98 assists and 2.11 blocks in 54 career games.

Bowles won a PBA championship in the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup during Cone’s 1st season as coach of the Purefoods franchise. He was named Best Import that same conference.

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Things are different this season, but the former James Madison University star has high hopes that the Hotshots will be contending once more for the championship. — By Richard Dy