Joe Devance admitted that he’d actually thought Tim Cone was playing at first when his long-time coach asked him to be part of his coaching staff for Gilas Pilipinas for the Southeast Asian Games.
“I was shocked when he asked me.
“At first I thought he was playing, but he was serious,” Devance said.
Cone has said that he picked Devance to be part of his staff since the 37-year-old pro knows his system well, as they have been working together for some time now.
It’s as if Devance goes wherever Cone goes — from Alaska, to San Mig Coffee, and Barangay Ginebra. And now, to the Gilas program, where they aim to help the country win yet another gold medal.
“I know his system just as much, probably even more than the assistant coaches. But don’t tell them that, though,” Devance quipped.
“But I do know his system the best.”
Devance was present in Gilas’ practice on Thursday. And everybody was calling him coach Joe.
“They are calling me Coach Joe ever since coach Tim asked me,” the 12-year PBA veteran said.
“They’re like ‘Hey, Coach Joe, what should we be doing?’ I kinda joke around with the guys like, ‘Where’s my whistle. I’m going to put them on a line’,” Devance added.
Being part of a coaching staff may be a new venture, but for Devance, it isn’t too different from what he does with Ginebra, where he’s also teaching some of the guys Cone’s system.
But to do it for the country, said Devance, is what makes it special. For him, it’s an immense honor.
“It was nothing different than what I do in Ginebra. But to do it for the country, it means a lot,” said Devance, who’s still recovering from a foot injury.
“I’ve always wanted to represent the country. I just thought it would be as a player and not as a coach. But nonetheless, it’s very exciting and I’m very honored to be part of this team.”