MANILA, Philippines – Ginebra forward Joe Devance insists he has no regrets after the Gin Kings bowed to the San Miguel Beermen in five games in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, which saw the versatile player compete despite an injured left foot.
Devance was hailed as the Gin Kings' inspiration for his willingness to suit up despite suffering from plantar fascia in his left foot, which required him to take shots of anesthetic before games.
He was their hero in their lone victory of the best-of-seven Finals series, hitting a buzzer-beating lay-up to send Game 2 into overtime, where they won, 124-118. Devance was also Ginebra's best player in their final three games. In Game 5, he kept the Gin Kings in the contest and finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists in over 46 minutes.
His efforts, however, were not enough. San Miguel seized a 91-85 victory to clinch a third consecutive All-Filipino crown.
"We faced a tough San Miguel team," Devance said. "They played great the whole conference. They got way too many weapons. We tried our best, but we just couldn't get the wins."
Devance will now take stock of how his decision to play in the Finals will affect the rest of his season. Ginebra coach Tim Cone initially wanted to be careful with his minutes, even contemplating sitting out the forward for a couple of games, and expressed his apprehension about the shots Devance was taking in order to play.
However, it soon became clear that Ginebra desperately needed Devance's presence on the floor to make plays and space the court, and the forward wound up playing heavy minutes in the series.
"I'm just going to rest," said Devance. "I'll probably get surgery, so I may be out for a few months."
Devance initially got hurt in their quarterfinals series against Alaska, where Ginebra upended the Aces' twice-to-beat edge to advance to the semifinals against Star.
"It was all worth it," Devance said. "Just to battle with these guys, they play their hearts out. I don't regret anything."
"Hopefully, my foot won't be affected later in life," he added. "But I'll worry about it if that happens."
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