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    Seeing less of Joshua Smith quite a relief for JDV: 'He's biggest player I played by far'

    Jun 15, 2017

    JOE Devance heaved a sigh of relief after taking a lesser load on defense in Barangay Ginebra’s 125-101 win over TNT KaTropa that allowed the Gin Kings to stay alive in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Thursday night.

    Since the start of the best-of-five series, the veteran utility man has been among those unenviably tasked with defending Joshua Smith.

    And 6-foot-7 Devance was glad to see less of the 6-foot- 9, 330-pound Smith, who was absent in the second half of Game Three due to a foot injury.

    “Just the minutes that I had on him was tough,” Devance admitted. “He’s huge, he’s the biggest player I played, by far. But he’s a great player. I heard he got injured. I hope it’s nothing serious. He seems like a great guy. He plays well in their system.”

    [See Jawo says he'll always be there for Ginebra]

    Without Smith, the Gin Kings took advantage as they maintained a huge second-half lead that ballooned to 32 points.

    Coming in averaging 25.5 points on 67.7-percent shooting and 15 boards in 27.9 minutes in the first two games of the series, Smith could only contribute four points on 2-of-6 shooting and seven rebounds in less than 10 minutes of play.

    And having a lesser defensive load, Devance contributed more on offense as he finished with 10 points on nine attempts, five boards, three assists, one steal, and one block without committing a single turnover in almost 24 minutes off the bench.  

    “Luckily, were able to get the win today,” Devance said ahead of Game Four on Saturday. “I think we played a lot better today. We’ll see what we can get better at and see what happens for the next game.”

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    “I’m not worried about Game Five, I’m worried about Game Four,” he added. “We got to get this Game Four, play harder, play smarter, play together, and we’ll see what happens.”

    [See Ginebra blows away TNT in Game 3 to stay alive in PBA playoffs]

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