Devance inspires Kings | Inquirer Sports

Devance inspires Kings

Short-handed Ginebra sees no shortage of motivation in 2-1 Finals bid vs San Miguel
By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 12:13 AM February 28, 2017


LUCENA CITY—It’s been a common sight the past couple of weeks—Ginebra forward Joe Devance lying on the massage table inside the locker room, having a needle punctured to his foot before the game and during halftime of every battle just to numb the pain of his injury.

The power forward is playing through the pain on his foot caused by plantar fasciitis, but there was no way he’s missing games in the PBA Philippine Cup finals, not when Ginebra, already short on firepower against the star-studded San Miguel Beermen, needs him the most.


Sophomore guard Scottie Thompson got most of the plaudits for his all-around play, finishing with 18 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists in the 124-118 overtime victory over the Beermen in Game 2 last Sunday, while Kevin Ferrer also got a piece of the limelight by anchoring the Gin Kings’ second-quarter explosion, where he fired 18 of his 21 points.


Japeth Aguilar bounced back from a miserable outing in the series opener with 23 points and 12 rebounds, after shooting just five points in Game 1.
But there’s no doubt that Devance has typified the resilience of the Gin Kings, counting the last stretch of the semifinal series against Star Hotshots—just for his ability to play through the pain.

And that’s on top of Devance’s task of helping neutralize San Miguel’s three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo in Game 2, before bailing out the Gin Kings with a buzzer-beating follow-up that forced overtime at 110-all.

“Joe was amazing,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone late Sunday night before the Gin Kings headed back to Manila after tying the PBA Philippine Cup finals at one game apiece at Quezon Convention Center here.

“He had to play, he got a shot. We drove the doctor up in a private car to give shots to Joe so he can play and do it again at halftime. He was huge, those minutes that Joe played, and just the resilience, seeing everybody staying together and battling through.”

“This is why we can’t give up,” said Ginebra veteran Mark Caguioa on his Instagram account, where he posted a photo of Devance preparing to take his painkilling shots. “This team will teach you to be humble.”

Devance has downplayed his injury, even as he warned his teammates of a strong response from the Beermen in Game 3 on Wednesday when the series shifts to the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.


“I’m fine, I’m perfect,” said Devance, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in Game 2. “I do whatever it takes, everybody knows that.”

For sure, there will be no shortage in motivation for the Gin Kings the rest of the way. They can just turn to Devance for inspiration.

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TAGS: Basketball, GINEBRA, Joe Devance, PBA

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