ALTHOUGH there’s a slim chance of Joe Devance suiting up for Barangay Ginebra’s do-or-die game against Alaska, coach Tim Cone is already prepared for the worst.
Cone said the Kings have yet to be updated on the condition of Devance, who injured his foot on Sunday during the team’s 85-81 win over the Aces at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City that paved the way for the sudden-death game for a berth in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
“Doubtful starter,” Cone shared to SPIN.ph. “But we’re still waiting to hear definitive news.”
A team insider however, said there could be a partial tear on Devance’s left foot, although the Fil-Am big man can play through the injury.
But Cone said he’s ready to use the next big man available if only to protect the health and condition of the player who had been with him during tours of duty at Alaska, Star, and now Ginebra.
‘We’ve been the next man up ever since Greg (Slaughter) went out and then Japeth (Aguilar) went out for a while,” said the only coach to win two grand slams in the 42-year history of the league.
“Now Joe looks like he might be out. So again, it’s the next guy up, next man stepping up.”
Devance went out at the 7:31 mark of the third period after hurting his foot at the height of Ginebra’s third quarter rally. The Kings were trailing, 51-37, when the 34-year-old veteran suffered the injury and was immediately taken to the hospital as he was writhing in pain both on the court and inside the team dugout.
"Ang lakas ng sigaw sa loob ng dugout," said the team insider. "Kaya dinala na siya agad sa hospital."
He had 10 points and three rebounds in 24 minutes of play when he called it a night.
Cone revealed Devance has been battling bone spurs in his ankle and that he was even injected pain relievers before the game ‘just to be ready.’
“I have a feeling it has something to do with the bone spurs,” said the Ginebra coach. “He couldn’t put weight on the bottom of the fight. But we’ll see.”
“I don’t know what happened. I just hope it’s nothing serious,” said Cone of Devance, who skipped the team’s practice Monday.