Bitter-sweet Manila Clasico as Cone, Devance face former team
(Philstar.com) - October 24, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -- Veteran forward Joe Devance vowed to treat Sunday’s blockbuster match between Barangay Ginebra and his former team Star as just another regular game when the two squads renew their rivalry for the PBA’s 41st season at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 6-foot-7 Devance and new Ginebra coach Tim Cone will be debuting against the Hotshots in what is expected to be an emotionally-charged match with both teams’ huge fan base set to fill the venue to rafters.

“It’s bitter-sweet because the Purefoods fans treated me well. You know I had a great time there with Purefoods and my teammates are great there,” Devance told Philstar.com on the eve of the Ginebra-Star collision at 5 p.m.

The 33-year-old Devance played a key role in Star’s five championships in his four-season stint, including the coveted Grand Slam championship in 2014.

“This is a whole different chapter of my life and career. I’m thankful to be part of ginebra, and blessed to be part of Purefoods,” beamed the top rookie pick in the 2008 PBA Draft.

“It’s crazy to go against those (Hotshots) guys.  It’s kinda weird right now, but after Sunday, I think we’ll be alright after we start banging each other,” he added.

Star’s energetic forward Marc Pingris said like Devance, he will come into the game with his customary workman-like approach when he faces Cone, whom he calls his “daddy”.

“Familiar kami sa triangle (offense) pero alam ko mas iba itatakbo ng Ginebra ngayon kasi mas bibigyan sila (Kings) ng opportunity maglaro sa isa’t isa and as a team,” said Pingris, who turned 34 last week.

“Pero kahit sino makaharap namin sa laro, wala muna akong pakialam. Sa labas mag-kaibigan naman kami saka si coach Tim, daddy ko talaga siya. Nagpapasalamat din kami kay coach Tim sa ginawa niya sa amin,” he added.

Star opened the brand new season with an 87-96 loss to Rain or Shine last Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

ACIRC BARANGAY GINEBRA GINEBRA GINEBRA-STAR GRAND SLAM JOE DEVANCE MALL OF ASIA ARENA MARC PINGRIS PUREFOODS SMART ARANETA COLISEUM TIM CONE
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