ANTIPOLO – Kevin Ferrer filled the void left by Joe Devance, making his presence felt on the defensive end in Ginebra’s 85-81 win over Alaska in their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal matchup on Sunday night.
When Devance went out with an injury early in the third quarter, the rookie Ferrer stepped up and embraced the unenviable task of defending Aces star Vic Manuel, who was held to just nine points on seven attempts after averaging 16.9 points in the elimination round.
“Binigay ko lang yung best ko,” Ferrer said. “Sinabi ko rin kina Kuya Mark (Caguioa) na ayaw ko pa mag-bakasyon. Kailangan namin ibigay yung best namin para makatawid sa next level.”
“Basta ginawa ko lang ‘yung right defense sa kanya,” he added. “May gameplan naman kami.”
The University of Santo Tomas product finished with two points, four boards, one assist, and one block in 25 minutes off the bench.
But the 6-foot-5 Gilas pool member did score his only points when it counted the most – a floater off a Sol Mercado drop pass that gave the Gin Kings an 82-79 lead with one minute and 25 seconds left.
Gin Kings coach Tim Cone has instilled a next-man-up principle in his wards, preparing Ferrer for the situation.
“We've been ‘next man up’ ever since Greg (Slaughter) went out, then Japeth (Aguilar) went out for a while, and now Joe's gone. And Joe looks like he might be out, so again it's the next guy up.”
“And the next man stepping up today was Kevin,” he added. “He played well offensively but he really helped us defensively against (Calvin) Abueva, against Manuel, he did a good job.”