Hurting birthday boy Devance ‘an inspiration’ to gutsy Ginebra

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 20, 2017 05:16 PM
Hurting bday boy Devance ‘an inspiration’ to gutsy Ginebra
OLDER, AND WISER. Joe Devance couldn't even jump, but he still lifted Ginebra in their gutsy Game 6 victory versus archrival Star.

Star was in complete control of a Game 6 that would have sent them into the Finals of the 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup.

That is until a familiar face – a very familiar face – took the fight out of them.

Joe Devance, who once played for the Star/Purefoods franchise, came alive in the third and scored every single one of his points in the quarter. It was his eight unanswered points that turned Ginebra’s four-point deficit into an eight-point lead it would keep until the final buzzer.

Indeed, it was the 10-year veteran who halted his former team and helped his new team to a much-needed win.

As such, multi-titled mentor Tim Cone had nothing but high praise for Devance whom he has been with for the last six years. “Joe’s been an inspiration to us. Obviously, he had that great third quarter,” he expressed.

Of course, Cone wasn’t about to mince words of his appreciation as the versatile forward did all that while still fighting through plantar fasciitis in his left foot. “Maybe three or four minutes before tip-off, he had to take three shots all the way to the bone inside the foot. It’s not a little shot in the arm – it’s right in the injury,” he shared.

He then continued, “It makes me get goosebumps every time I watch it, but he’s been an inspiration to everybody with his resolve and his ability to keep battling.”

Devance himself was not about to hide how hard it was to make it onto the playing court, much less, make an impact. “It’s funny because in the first half, my whole foot was numb. I felt like I didn’t have no foot, but I kinda adjusted to that feeling and once I did, I felt better,” he said.

He then continued, “I just told myself I gotta battle through that. Luckily I did and we got the win.”

All of it was a perfect present for his 34th birthday. “It’s my birthday today and I’m just thankful we got the win on my birthday. It’s a great birthday present,” he said.

Without a doubt, Devance’s left foot was hurting. His spirit, though, certainly wasn’t.

“I’d be crying later (because of the pain), but I’ll be all right. What can it do,” he said. “I can either sit down and say my foot hurts or just try to get through it. So I just tried to get through it.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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