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PBA: War on Twitter

Dillinger, Devance see grudge rematch.

Joe Devance was acting strange these days.

So when he was asked about facing Jared Dillinger in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, he suddenly acted as if he was a WWE wrestler sending a stern warning to his rival foe.

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“Yeah. I’m a heel. I’mma hit Dillinger, I’mma punch him right in the stomach. Nah, I’m just playing,” said Devance after he and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel arranged a finals rematch with Dillinger’s Meralco Bolts following a 115-105 win over TNT KaTropa Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The two have had some sort of playful animosity on social media that began when Dillinger expressed his hatred toward Ginebra in the Commissioner’s Cup, prompting the usually-outspoken Devance to respond, leading to witty exchanges and reaction from fans.

Dillinger upped the ante Thursday when the Bolts swept the Star Hotshots in the semifinals, openly expressing his desire to face Ginebra in the championship series. His wish was granted three nights later.

“Been waiting too damn long for this! Let’s go! This is what we wanted! Finals rematch,” Dillinger tweeted minutes after Ginebra’s semifinal win.

Turning serious, Devance said their conversations are both good-natured ribbing and good-natured competitiveness.

“You know, it’s all in good fun, good sportsmanship, you know it’s competitiveness. You know we’re just gonna come out and fight, whatever team wants it more is gonna get it,” he shared.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s no hostility between their respective teams, something that is already given in the corporate rivalry of San Miguel Corporation, which owns Ginebra, and the Manny V. Pangilinan group that handles the Meralco franchise.

“I don’t want to say we hate each other, but we hate each other. I mean, MVP, Mr. Ang, I mean it’s just how it is,” said Devance, bracing for a much-difficult series against a Meralco side eager to bounce back from last year’s heartbreaking loss to Ginebra in the finals of the same conference.

“If we thought this (semifinal series with TNT) is gonna be a battle, this next series is going to be a battle. We’re full aware of the challenges that they’re gonna present to us, see what happens,” he added.

Devance, however, may enter the series set to begin Friday at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City still bothered by the hip injury that forced him to play little minutes Sunday, aside from a foot injury he has endured for most of the season.

But the 11-year veteran said he’s ready to go for Game 1 and see whether he or Dillinger can walk the talk.