Cone, Devance partnership looks to continue success in PBA finals

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Cone, Devance partnership looks to continue success in PBA finals
Barangay Ginebra forward Joe Devance is looking to win his eighth PBA title, all under head coach Tim Cone. -- REY JOBLE

FOR many years, the partnership of Tim Cone and Joe Devance has developed many championships and the success of that tandem has been emulated by many.

Seven times, the duo produced seven championships and the 6-foot-7 Fil-Am veteran cager couldn’t be thankful enough. But what makes the partnership successful?

“I think it’s his open mind to develop me on how I will work to his system and on my part, I was open for him to teach me. He put me in so many different situations as far as being on the court, as far as his position. He has helped me so much in life. It’s one of those father-son type relationships to where it works. Inside and outside the court. Just life. I think most coaches don’t really get to their players like that. He has reached me personally that way. That’s where me and him were having that great relationship,” Mr. Devance told BusinessWorld.

Like an ordinary father-son relationship, not everything is sunshine and rainbow and Devance admitted that there were times he’ll be at the receiving end of Cone’s cursing each time things don’t work well between them.

“It’s not all perfect days. There were days he’s cursing me out, spitting on my face and those kind of stuff. I’m getting mad at him and he can see it on my face. But at the end of the day, me and him were going on the same direction. We’re on the same goal, we were just trying to win,” he added.

But the years of being together has certainly made the bond stronger and Devance is fortunate to have played most of his PBA career under the winningest mentor in the league.

“It’s funny because I’ve seen his kids when they were like babies. Now, they’re up to college. That’s the type of relationship me and him have. Honestly, it’s really a blessing for me pretty much of my career under Coach Tim,” he added.

“I don’t have any aspirations of being a coach, but if I ever did, I would like to become an understudy of Coach Tim, for sure.”

In the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup, Mr. Devance’s number was up. He’s averaging close to 13 points and five rebounds per outing, but for the most versatile player seeing action in the league today, numbers won’t mean anything until he makes his teammates look better.

“I think my mentality is to make my teammates better. If I make my teammates better, I guess my numbers will go up because I’m so focused on my teammates. My mentality is always, ‘What am I gonna do to make my teammates better?’ Anything after that is a positive. As long as I can make my teammates better and we’re winning, I could care less about my stats,” said Mr. Devance.

Mr. Devance and the defending champion Gin Kings are trying to win another title and the veteran cager is ready to win another one — an eighth title in partnership with Cone — if ever the finals campaign against Meralco will be successful.

“I’m trying to win a championship. I’m ready to win another championship, but if we’re ready or not, that’s another different occasion, yeah but I’m definitely ready,” he added. — Rey Joble