VETERAN forward Joe Devance said the team’s reawakening midway through the PBA Philippine Cup has a lot to do with the Hotshots’ “hate-to-lose” attitude.
“After losing so much, you have to wake up, unless you just like losing,” said Devance, who had an all-around game marked by 16 points, six assists and four rebounds to lead the Hotshots to a 90-82 win over winless Blackwater Elite on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots went through some anxious moments against the Elite, but their experience proved too much for the expansion team to overcome in the payoff period.
“We’re not just the type of team that would accept losing. I’m hoping we’re over it (losing stretch), and hoping we get better and continue to play as a team,” said the 6-foot-7 Fil-American.
The 32-year-old Devance said being the last team to start practice during the offseason, it was not surprising for them to grope for form early in the season-opening conference.
The Hotshots opened the 40th season by losing three of their first four games. But after getting bludgeoned by Barangay Ginebra, 89-66, two Sundays ago, Purefoods Star has recovered by blasting NLEX, 92-76, behind PJ Simon’s 20 points, along with Devance and James Yap’s combined 38 points.
“We’re still adjusting, trying to find ourselves and trying to get back to what we do best which is defense,” explained the left-handed top rookie pick in the 2008 rookie draft.
With their grand slam core back for another title run this season, Devance feels it’s now just a matter of seeing their individual talent mesh together to ensure their slow but sure ascension to the top.
“As a team, we’re not where we need to be as a team. Individually, we’re talented, but if we don’t bring our individual talents together, there’s no point,” he added.
Purefoods takes a four-day break before returning to action on Sunday when it faces dangerous Meralco in Binan, Laguna.