BARANGAY Ginebra has already won back-to-back titles in one PBA conference.
The next order of business: winning one championship in each of the other two tournaments.
After reasserting their supremacy in their Governors’ Cup following a seven-game finals conquest of Meralco, Joe Devance believes the Gin Kings can build the next dynasty in the league if they can translate their success in the Philippine Cup as well as the Commissioner’s Cup.
“We’re going to win more titles,” the veteran forward beamed as he celebrated in their locker room at the Philippine Arena on Friday night. “That’s our mindset. We’re here to win; we’re not here just to play basketball.”
“But there are tough teams out there,” he was quick to add. “It’s not going to be easy. We won the same conference last year, and then nothing, so we got to come out after we get on this break and prepare, train hard, and get after it.”
One tough team the Gin Kings have already proven they can beat in San Miguel Beer, which Ginebra denied of a grand slam this year by eliminating them after their quarterfinal matchup in just one game that jumpstarted their playoff run this conference.
And the Gin Kings just have to prove they can do the same thing to the Beermen, among other heavyweights, in the all-Filipino and midseason tournaments.
Devance already knows a thing or two about winning, having captured his eighth title to climb to second most among active players, the same as Marc Pingris and Danny Seigle, and just behind Rafi Reavis, who has the most with 10 championships under his belt.
And the 35-year-old cager is confident the entire Gin Kings team can sustain the winning tradition as a unit if they adopt his secret to success.
“For me personally, it’s about being a great teammate,” the Gin Kings’ utility man said. “These guys know I’m not the best three-point shooter; they know I’m not the best dribbler; I’m not the best none of that. But what I’m the best at is I get my teammates better. I’m the best at being a great teammate – and that’s what I really take pride in.
“That’s my main focus – how am I going to get my teammates better. And honestly, if the whole team has that mindset, I mean we’re going to go to a whole new level,” Devance added. “And they’re slowly getting that concept.”
Playing under Tim Cone for practically his entire career also helps.
“For me, though, it starts with coach Tim,” Devance said. “Coach Tim has taught me so much throughout my whole career. He molded me to be the player I am today – even off the court, he’s taught me so much. I’m just truly blessed.”
For now, Devance can heave a sigh of relief as he can finally undergo a long-delayed surgery that on his foot that has been injured since the Philippine Cup.
“Even today, my foot was just…I mean, it was almost unbearable,” the Filipino-American forward said. “But it’s done and over with now. I’mma get my surgery I think November 7 here, and the road to recovery right after that.”
“I’ll probably miss a few games (in the PH Cup) because I’ll have surgery, but these guys are in good hands,” he added.