Player of the Week July 5 to 11

LIKE so many others, Joe Devance does not usually get the recognition he deserves.

Not anymore.

Alaska’s multitalented forward has been named as the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period July 5 to 11 after leading the Aces into a commanding 2-0 lead over Barangay Ginebra in their ongoing 2010 Fiesta Conference quarterfinal series.

It was the first such citation for the No. 1 pick in the 2007 Draft and none is happier for him than Alaska coach Tim Cone.

“Joe has been very quietly one of the keys to our success the last couple of years,” said Cone of the 6-foot-7 southpaw acquired in a trade with Welcoat (currently Rain or Shine) for Solomon Mercado in 2008.

“His versatility is what makes our triangle go,” added Cone. “I’m very happy for him that he’s getting some recognition. It’s very long overdue!”

There were other players standing out, like RoS guard Sol Mercado (16.5 points, 7.0 assists) and Devance teammate LA Tenorio (8.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists). But Devance made a very winning case for himself with solid figures of his own.

With the 28-year-old averaging 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists, Alaska managed to eke out 76-72 and 84-82 wins over the Kings to move within another victory of completing a sweep of the best-of-five duel and advancing to the semifinals.

In the series opener where he scattered 15 points, Devance scored six during a decisive 14-2 run that enabled Alaska to wrest full control from a 62-67 deficit.

In Game Two last Sunday, he figured in all six of Alaska’s last six points to cap a 19-point, nine-rebound performance. First he fed Diamon Simpson for a basket, scored on two difficult short stabs and then harassed Sunday Salvacion into missing the potential game-winning triple.

There is another thing in the player’s game that should please Cone, the other Aces and all their avid supporters.

In those said games, Devance has attempted only three times from beyond the arc, showcasing his evolution into a more of a high percentage-shot type of a player that Cone wants him to be.

With Devance continuing to work on his game and progressing in the process, there is little doubt where Alaska is headed, not only in the current tourney but in the seasons to come. (NC)