(STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - Take it from Joe Devance’s agent Loy Allado. The 6-7 3/4 forward from the University of Texas at El Paso is the real thing.

“You can build a franchise around him,” said Allado whose son Don plays for Talk ’N’ Text in the PBA.

Allado, however, isn’t involved in managing Devance anymore even as their three-year contract won’t expire until December.

“I heard (Dondon) Monteverde is his agent now,” said Allado. “That’s fine with me. I won’t hold on to a player who chooses to be managed by somebody else even if my contract is still valid. My only hope is I get paid back for what I spent for him when I was actively managing him. It’s not a big amount, only $3,000. I’m sure he can pay me back with his rookie contract. I don’t doubt Joe will be an impact player in the PBA.”

It was Allado who introduced Devance to Philippine basketball.

“A contact from El Paso got in touch and told me about Joe,” said Allado. “I checked him out. In high school, he played four and five. In college, he played three and four. He’s very versatile. He can post up, has a soft touch from the perimeter. He can play five in the PBA. His attitude is okay. He’ll have a great career in the PBA.”

Allado brought Devance from Texas to Los Angeles to attend a Fil-Am camp supervised by national coach Chot Reyes two years ago. Reyes was interested in enlisting Devance for the national pool.

Allado sent Devance to Manila but he never showed up for the Philippine team tryouts. Instead, he joined the PBL draft and saw action for Toyota. Devance tried to make the cut-off for the PBA draft last year but his Filipino citizenship didn’t come on time.

“Joe was frustrated that he didn’t get his papers,“ said Allado. “He asked me how come Kelly (Williams) got his dual citizenship and he didn’t when they applied at about the same time. That’s because Kelly brought his Filipina mother to personally vouch for him at the Bureau of Immigration. Joe’s Filipina mother could’ve come over because she underwent heart surgery. Joe even wondered if a video from the US would do. Maybe, that was why he went to another agent. I don’t blame him. I couldn’t really attend to his situation because of things I was tied up with in Los Angeles. But at least, I should be reimbursed for what I spent for him. I paid for his plane fare from Texas to L. A. to Manila and gave him some pocket money.”

Allado said he never got a centavo from Devance’s PBL contract. “I didn’t ask anything from Joe,” said Allado. “The PBL contract wasn’t big so I wanted him to take it all. I just wanted to give him a break.”

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Allado is now negotiating a new contract for his son with Talk ’N’ Text. He is also Alaska guard Tony de la Cruz’ agent. Through the years, Allado has recruited imports for at least eight of the league’s 10 teams. He teamed up with the late Chique de la Rosa in bringing imports like former Chicago Bull Dickey Simpkins and Washington’s Mark Sanford to the PBA.

Devance’s mother Mae Sanz traces her roots to Toboso and Escalante in Negros Occidental. She migrated to the US in 1975 and gave birth to Devance in Hawaii where she lived for 11 years with her first husband, Joe Sr. She has resettled in El Paso with Devance’s step- father Ronald Bolden. Devance learned to play from Bolden when he was 14.

Like his namesake in Congress, Joe DeV is eager to play a leadership role in the PBA, regardless of what team he plays for. He’s tipped to be the No. 1 draft choice today. Welcoat owns the first pick. Theoretically, Welcoat could trade the pick to another team for a slew of top-notch players. The Dragons could use some warm bodies with the expiration of the contracts of Rob Wainwright, Jun-Jun Cabatu, Jay Sagad, E. J. Feihl and Gilbert Lao last Wednesday. But it’s likely Welcoat will exercise its right and choose Devance who’s a legitimate NCAA Division I product like Williams and the Seigle brothers.

By the way, there are 44 rookies available for the draft after Jeff Chan, Jun Molina and Godofredo Cuevas were scratched from the list.

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The order of draft will be in the first round, Welcoat, San Miguel (from Coca-Cola in the Gary David-Dale Singon three-way trade with Air21), Sta. Lucia, Coca-Cola (from Air21), Air 21 (from Purefoods in the Marc Pingris-Egay Billiones trade), Alaska, Alaska (from Red Bull in the Rich Alvarez trade), Air21 (from Talk ’N’ Text in the RenRen Ritualo trade), San Miguel, Coca-Cola (from Ginebra in the Rudy Hatfield-Rafi Reavis-Billy Mamaril three-way trade).

Expected to go in the first round are Devance, Yousif Aljamal, J. C. Intal, Ryan Arana, Doug Kramer, Jojo Duncil, Ken Bono, J. R. Quinahan, Ryan Reyes and Samigue Eman. Others worth considering are Macky Escalona, Ronnie Zagala, R. J. Masbang and Marvin Cruz.

For the record, the 310-pound Bono was the slowest in the 60-meter sprints (9.38 seconds) and agility drill (5.66 seconds) at the recent rookie camp. Bono is the heaviest and Elbert Alberto and Donald Tadena the lightest at 154 pounds. Topping the vertical leaps were Eman (11 feet, five inches) and Intal (11 feet, three inches). Eman is the tallest (6-8) and Roberto Rivera the smallest (5-7).

Only two players were measured with wingspans of at least 80 inches – Eman (86 1/2) and Devance (82 3/4). Masbang posted the most sit-ups (80) and Zagala the least (40) while Alex Angeles registered the most pull-ups (23). New York-born Edilgusto Soriano of San Beda College compiled the most pushups (75) and bench presses (37).

Gilbert Neo of National University is the oldest rookie eligible at 28 while Cruz of the University of the Philippines is the youngest at 21.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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