IF quantity of playoff games is an indication, then Rain or Shine is really the fresher team in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals compared to San Mig Coffee.
Just don’t tell that to Mixers forward Joe Devance.
Contrary to popular belief that the Mixers are fagged out after coming off two playoff series that both went to the limit against Talk ‘N Text and Barangay Ginebra, the versatile Filipino-American cager insisted that he is far from exhausted.
“I’m not tired at all. I’m just banged up a little bit,” Devance said in a chat with Spin.ph after practice on Monday, referring to both his ankles, one of which got twisted in the semifinals and the other in Game Two of the Finals on Sunday.
“But as far as fatigue, I’m not tired. I don’t think none of us are,” added Devance, who turns 32 on Wednesday when the Mixers shoot for a 2-1 series lead in Game Three at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After the 70-80 Game Two loss to San Mig that evened the series, Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao said he believes the longer the series gets, the better it is for his team, which dispatched Globalport in the quarterfinals in one game, before taking only five matches to eliminate Petron in the Final Four.
“He can think that all he wants. That’s fine. But we’re not tired,” said Devance, who has continued to be the X factor for the Mixers by taking advantage of his size in mismatches against Painters guards Jeff Chan and Paul Lee.
“I’m bigger than Jeff, bigger than Paul Lee, and I’m a willing passer. I don’t really care about my points. That’s why it’s a little bit harder for them to guard me,” the 6-foot-7 utility player said. “But I think they’re defending me pretty well.”
Devance hopes to continue exploiting that mismatch throughout the series.
“If they don’t do anything to fix it, we have to keep on doing what works for us. Hopefully it continues to work.”
Despite his consistent solid play, Devance has continued to stay in the shadows of star teammates James Yap, PJ Simon, and Mark Barroca.
But he doesn’t mind.
“I don’t care. They can have all the spotlight. They can have all the Best Player of the Game, they can have all the MVPs. I’ll be proud of them because they’re my teammates. Just as long as we’re winning, I’m fine with that.”