SHORT of defying doctor's orders, or rather the coach’s wish, hurting big man Joe Devance declared himself ready to suit up for Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel.
Having gone this far despite playing with a torn plantar fasciitis in his left foot, the veteran Fil-Am said there’s no way he will miss seeing action in the best-of-seven title series that starts on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
‘No, no. I’m not missing it,” a defiant Devance told SPIN.ph. “I lasted this long, so we’ll see what happens.”
A day after the Kings eliminated the Star Hotshots for the right to face the Beermen in the championship showdown, Devance rested his ailing foot and was a no-show in the league’s pre-finals’ press conference.
Coach Tim Cone revealed during the press launch about plans of sitting out Devance for the first two games of the series to rest his battered foot that has been getting constant treatment through pain-killing injections.
The 34-year-old Devance said it has been that way for him since the Governors Cup last year. His situation was aggravated in the ongoing playoffs where he now has to take injections twice for a game, something that already concerns Cone.
‘I think we’ve done that enough and it bothers my conscience that he’s doing that to his foot,” said the Ginebra coach.
Devance missed the first two games of the semifinals against Star, but returned in Game Three and helped the Kings win a series that went the distance.
In the series-clinching victory, 89-76, Devance played extended minutes and finished with seven points, four rebounds, and played as if he wasn't nursing any injury.
He later said feeling fine about the injured foot.
“I think the shots are starting to help a little bit more. I think my foot is starting to heal a little bit better,” said Devance. “Game Seven, I felt the best it has in the whole series. I think it took seven days for it to feel like this.”
For him to get going in the finals, shots will still be needed, according to the Ginebra forward.
“I still need some shots, but no problem,” said Devance. “I don’t want to say I’m already used to it. I’d do whatever it takes to play.”
But Devance is likewise open to compromising with Cone, whose concern he appreciates.
“Coach said that he might wanna rest me, but we’re gonna talk about that, and see what we can do,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”