THE stakes have risen in the PBA Governors’ Cup and so has Joe Devance’s game.
The versatile forward has been instrumental in San Mig Coffee’s quarterfinal surge over Alaska and the headstart over Meralco in their semifinal pairing to earn the Accel-PBA Player of the Week honors for the period Sept. 23 to 29.
In said span the 6-7 southpaw averaged 12.3 points, including a personal conference-high 17 in the Mixers’ 83-73 triumph over the Bolts last Sunday in their Final Four matchup.
For San Mig coach Tim Cone, Devance’s all around game speaks more volumes than his individual statistics.
“Joe does a lot more for us than what shows up in the boxscores. He handles the ball, can set up the offense and probably is our best player in terms of understanding our execution,” noted Cone.
“He’s a point forward in the strictest sense, which allows us great flexibility. He’s showing all that in this playoff so far and has been a huge key to our success.”
The 31-year-old said he’s simply doing what he can in his team’s bid to win the crown that was almost theirs last season before losing to Rain or Shine in the last and deciding game of the Finals.
“I’m just trying to do my little part, trying to help the team win,” said Devance.
Other Mixers in Mark Barroca, Alex Mallari and PJ Simon have also stepped up when Allein Maliksi got sidelined by a knee injury in the deciding game against Alaska, but it was Devance who stood out the most, considering he averaged just a little over 7.0 points in the eliminations.
He poured 10 points in a 105-112 loss to the Aces and returned with 12 and nine rebounds in the series-clinching 83-73 win last Friday.
In the opener of the best-of-five semis series with Meralco, Devance led all San Mig scorers with his points, anchored on 3-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc. In all, he made seven of 10 shots and also had two rebounds. (NC)