(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Although he won't suit up tonight against Kia, Tim Cone said Devance might play this weekend.
The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings started the league's 43rd season with 2 straight wins. Then, Greg Slaughter and the Gin Kings went on a 3-game losing streak before finally winning one against the San Miguel Beermen. And yet, they lost again to the NLEX Road Warriors DESPITE having Slaughter back in the line-up. As it happens, Ginebra appears to be a team who is in desperate need of help and the good news is, they are about to receive much-needed reinforcement. Nope. Not tonight against the Kia Picanto but soon. That is according to Coach Tim Cone.
That reinforcement is, of course, none other than Tim Cone's prized forward, Joe Devance. To begin with, Joe Devance hasn't played a single game this season as he underwent a surgery for his foot but according to Tim Cone, Joe Devance's progress has been significant as he said that the forward might be able to play this weekend which is earlier than the team's target date which is February 15. Having Joe Devance would definitely be a welcome development for Ginebra who is also dealing various injuries of Greg Slaughter, Sol Mercado and Aljon Mariano.
Greg Slaughter, for one, hasn't been 100% as he had been struggling with his hamstring injury during their game against NLEX. Both Mercado and Mariano are playing despite ankle issues so technically speaking, Ginebra isn't a healthy team for now.
Given that JDV can play at any given position owing to his height and wingspan advantage, this could help ease off the pressure from Greg Slaughter and Japeh Aguilar in the defensive end, and LA Tenorio from the offensive end because like it or not, JDV is one of the best two-way players the PBA has ever seen in these last few years. No wonder why Tim Cone is cautious about forcing JDV adding that as of this very moment, their main focus is to win as many games as possible beginning tonight with Kia because what's the point of having a complete AND healthy team if they are not playing in the playoffs, right?
For now, Ginebra will need every healthy pair of legs playing because it will definitely take time before they can become a healthy and winning team like they were during the last two Governors' Cup.
Question: Will JDV's return means that Ginebra can compete against the likes of the Beermen in the playoffs?
Answer: Possibly. Ginebra beat San Miguel without Greg Slaughter and JDV. Technically, Ginebra SHOULD have lost that game and yet they found a way to win. Imagine what could have happened had Ginebra was able to field JDV and Slaughter.