Hurting Devance plays key role for Ginebra in Game 6
Joe Devance expects a painful and possibly sleepless night to celebrate his 35th birthday on Sunday. But at the end of the day, he knows that all of those pain will be worth it.
“I’d be crying later, but I’ll be all right,” Devance said.
Devance has every reason to feel such as he provided the spark in Ginebra’s 91-67 victory over Star on Sunday to force a do-or-die Game 7 in their 2017 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series.
Despite suffering with plantar fasciitis on his left foot, the Fil-American forward ambushed the Hotshots in the third quarter, drilling two huge treys that allowed the Gin Kings to seize the lead, 50-46 and sparked a 10-2 tear to end the period for a 62-54 advantage.
The road Devance took to finish the game with 14 points and three rebounds wasn’t an easy one.
Willing himself to get his shots down on Saturday’s practice, it was mind over matter for the top pick of the 2007 PBA Draft.
“Yesterday, I just told myself I’m going to shoot. It doesn’t matter if it hurts. So today, I had a little bit more rhythm, so I feel good today,” he said.
However, pain still refused to die down as Devance needed two more anesthetic shots to at least make his feeling better before Game 6.
“I took the first shot at around 5:30 p.m. and I went out there and it did not feel right. It was still painful on the arc [of the foot] and I just came in four minutes until the game started. I told the doctor I need one more shot because I still feel the pain and I couldn’t push off it at all,” he said.
“We came in right before the game and just did it really quick shot. It was still bleeding. I wish I could show you guys how nasty it was, but yeah, I had to take two shots before the game.”
Fortunately for Devance, that did the trick and he went on to inspire his team to victory.
“My foot was a little bit hurting on the inside, but I just told myself that I got to battle through that. Luckily I did and we got the win,” he said.
Devance said he won’t mind the pain if the Gin Kings get the job done every time especially on Tuesday for the winner-take-all Game 7.
“If it takes me a hundred (anesthetic) shots to make the championship, to get to the finals, I’m going to get a hundred shots. I’d worry about my foot later,” he said. “These guys played with so much heart. We battled through a lot of stuff. I’m super blessed to be in this position. We fought hard to be here. I’m truly thankful that we got the win on my birthday. It’s a great birthday present for me.”
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