Amid his grief, Devance finds way to support Ginebra
MANILA, Philippines – From playing through the heavy news of his father’s passing last week, to staying up to watch the game from halfway across the world, Joe Devance never stopped being a teammate to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
Amid his grief over the passing of his father Joe Calvin Devance Sr., the 34-year-old forward was still concerned over his team all the way from Honolulu, Hawaii.
“He talked to me before the game (against San Miguel), and we have a group chat, he talked to us right after the game,” shared guard Sol Mercado, who’s friends with Devance, after the Gin Kings routed the San Miguel Beermen 110-84 on Sunday, April 3.
“He stayed up and watched the game, he's really proud of us and he's doing better.”
Devance received the news about his father right before Ginebra’s previous game against TNT. He wept before the match but never told anybody except for Mercado, who also experienced losing his father suddenly 3 years ago.
“It was really a testament to his character for him to even play through and give everything he had for us through that last game,” said Mercado.
“He was in the locker room, all of a sudden he breaks down crying,” head coach Tim Cone shared. “I knew something was up. I figured something must’ve happened in the US because if it had happened here he wouldn’t have showed up to the game.”
Cone found out only after the TNT match what had really happened and Devance left the following day.
“He’s really the only son of his father so he had to go back and attend to all the affairs, the funeral. The mother and father were separated but his mother flew out to Hawaii with him to help him out,” Cone explained.
The Gin Kings missed Devance in the lopsided victory against the Beermen but kept him in their thoughts all throughout as they dedicated the contest to him and his father.
“We talked about him before the game. We talked about the idea that he was there taking care of his business, we’re totally supporting him, we keep him in our thoughts and prayers, but that there’s also an opportunity for other people to step up,” said Cone.
“Without a doubt obviously this win is dedicated to him and his dad. It’s a tough time for him.”
Devance is expected to be back in Manila in time for a couple of practices before Ginebra’s next game against Meralco on Wednesday, April 13.
Before Devance, Arwind Santos’ mother also passed away right before the Holy Week. Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin likewise lost his brother, Terry.
Baldwin, who took a leave of absence from national team training to mourn his brother’s death in the US, posted a couple of tweets about his loss on his Twitter account on Monday, April 4.
How can I pay tribute to a man who's life is a tribute 2 how life should be lived? You helped me & showed me the better way always #ForTerry— Tab Baldwin (@iHob1111) April 3, 2016