Joe Devance believes Barangay Ginebra’s impressive conference run so far has a lot to do with the team’s commitment to play team defense and precise ball movement.
In fact, at the end of the quarterfinal round, Ginebra has topped the PBA Governors Cup on defense, holding its opponent to just 94.33 points per contest.
The Kings are also unselfish with the basketball as evidenced in their tournament-high 25.25 assists per game.
“We’ve been playing good basketball for the whole conference and we’ve been passing the ball well,” Devance told FOX Sports, whose team reached the semifinals for the first time since the 2014 Philippine Cup.
The left-handed Fil-American in fact, said one big factor in Ginebra’s solid conference was the players’ decision to accept their respective roles under coach Tim Cone’s tweaked system, which has transitioned from the triangle offense to an up-tempo approach.
“The guys are more willing to accept it (new system) just because the guys are passing and cutting and more up tempo,” said the 34-year-old Devance, who has won six PBA titles while playing under Cone.
“The guys liked it and that’s all that matters. And the key to that is we’re making all these assists and it seems like we fit in well.”
And while Ginebra will enter with a handicapped front court due to the absence of injured big man Greg Slaughter, Devance is confident that the Kings can rely on their team defense.
Cone already said in a previous interview that in terms of one-on-one defense, it would be impossible for Ginebra to stop San Miguel’s top center June Mar Fajardo, a cinch to win a third straight PBA MVP trophy.
“It’s okay. We know June Mar is a great player. He’s big, but we’re gonna rely on team defense because it’s not gonna be June Mar versus Japeth or June Mar vs whoever but it’s gonna be June Mar versus all of us,” explained the top rookie pick in the 2007 PBA Draft. – Richard Dy
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