Joe Devance still in doubt for Ginebra game against Meralco due to illness
Joe Devance sat out Ginebra's game against Blackwater on Friday night and is still in doubt for Sunday's match against Meralco. Jaime Campos

BINAN, Laguna - Barangay Ginebra faces giant Alex Stepheson and the Meralco Bolts next, likely without one of its best big men.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone cast doubt on the availability of Joe Devance for the Gin Kings' big Sunday showdown against the Bolts due to a chest and throat infection.

Devance wasn't around on Friday night when the Kings found a way to beat the Blackwater Elite, 96-82, despite Greg Smith putting up monster numbers of 37 points and 19 rebounds.

"I don't know, but he's doubtful for Sunday's game," Cone announced inside the team dugout at the Alonte Sports Arena after the game.

Cone said the 35-year-old Devance was in the hospital from Tuesday to Thursday.

"He was in the hospital for three days. He has severe sore throat. He was in antibiotic, intravenous all the way until Thursday afternoon," shared Cone.

"So we knew he's not gonna be playing tonight."

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Good thing, Justine Brownlee managed to hold his own against Smith, despite being the shortest import in the mid-season tournament.

"Justine played really well in terms of getting postion on Smith. He's gonna score. We can't stop him from scoring, but just try to make it difficult enough for him, and we did just that," Cone added.

Brownlee finished with 35 points and 14 rebounds.

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