Barangay Ginebra San Miguel versatile forward Joe Devance can do anything on the court–he can shoot, he can defend, he can rebound, you name it.
Coach Tim Cone summed it up best when asked how he would describe the 6’7″ forward’s play.
“What makes Joe different from everybody else is he’s like one of those jackknives. You pull out different kinds of, say, like can opener or screwdriver and all those different things. Joe could look which one of those to use. Joe sees the game that way,” Cone told InterAksyon.
“He can look at what the team needs and then fill out that role, just about anything, when it comes to ballhandling, being a power guy, being a defender, being a rebounder. He can play any position–1 to 5–so he just analyzes the game and say, ‘OK, this is what we need now’.”
Devance and Cone have won championships in all the three teams that they’ve been together–at Alaska, San Mig Coffee and, now, Ginebra.
All in all, they’ve won a combined seven championships in almost 10 years of partnership.
Devance has been productive for the Gin Kings in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup, averaging 12.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
“I don’t know, to be honest,” Devance said when asked why his numbers have gone up. “I haven’t noticed that. I’m not sure what my stats were.”
What’s more impressive is that he’s posting those numbers despite playing alongside prolific scorers Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter.
“He sees the attention going on to Greg, Japeth, Justin, so he feels he needs to be more aggressive for shots because they’re gonna play off to him,” Cone said. “So he’s running the floor well.”
But Devance said defense remains his main calling card.
“I’m just trying to focus on defense. I’m not really worried about my points. If I’m open, I shoot it. I have to create for my teammates. I don’t really get credit for my defense, but that’s what I’m really focused on. I think all the imports that I’ve guarded, they don’t get their current averages on us. That’s something I take pride in, my defense,” Devance said.
Cone couldn’t agree more.
“He’s defending extremely well against the imports. He’s done fantastic job because he’s really smart. He’s not a great defender, but he’s a super smart defender. He knows how to defend a guy when he has people behind him. He knows what he can do. He knows it’s not about him, it’s about everybody. He’ll play that role to a team and that makes him such a great defender,” Cone said.