JOE Devance quickly played down his role and deflected credit to the fans for providing Ginebra with all the inspiration they needed to beat Star, 73-62, in Game Three of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series on Monday.
Still, seeing Devance play through pain and walk with a limp on his way out of Ginebra's dugout at the Mall Arena proved inspiring for the Gin Kings.
Devance said his right foot still hurts but it didn't show as he finished with six points and the same number of rebounds in almost 19 quality minutes of play.
But just his presence alone seemed to have inspired Ginebra, whose backs were against the wall after losing the first two games of the best-of-seven series, to regain their defensive identity in limiting Star to the league’s lowest output in nine years.
However, Devance refused to take credit, saying the Gin Kings were just playing for the fans who showed up at the venue.
"I don't know if I inspired them. I just think they just came out and played with a little bit more desperation and a little bit inspired basketball. But I don’t think it's because of me. It's for the fans," he said.
"We kinda realized that we're playing for each other. And you know when all that sinks in, it's like were playing for more than just ourselves so that what's kinda sank in today," Devance added.
After missing the first two matches of the series due to a torn plantar fascitis on his right foot, the veteran cager said he took a shot of anesthetic before the game but the pain crept back in the second half.
"It (anesthetic) started to wear off (late in the game). If I didn't get that shot, I won't be able to play," said Devance.
"The doctor said I should rest, but I could play if I could take the pain. How can I sit out right now? It's hard to sit down in the sidelines and watch so I'm gonna do whatever i can to help," he added.
But will he play in Game Four, where the Gin Kings will try to tie the series?
"I'm gonna play for sure," he said.
"I'm willing to take the shot and I have no regrets, down the line who knows what's gonna happen on my foot. I'll worry about that later on."