PBA: Mikey Williams, TNT look to adjust after thrilling Game 3 win
MANILA, Philippines—TNT top gun Mikey Williams found himself at the nasty end of Magnolia’s unforgiving defense during the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Sunday.
The Hotshots’ cutthroat defense held Williams to just 15 points and sent him reeling to a frosty 4-of-13 shooting that night. Compounding the scoring champion’s woes was a bungled gimme that nearly cost the Tropang Giga a Game 3 win that put the club ahead in the race, 2 games to 1.
“I can’t even tell you,” he said when asked of his botched unmolested layup with 1:01 remaining. “I thought it was easy money. In my mind, I said ‘easy money.’ It didn’t bounce my way today. Gotta come back stronger [in] Game Four.”
Mark Barroca then hit back-to-back shots to give Magnolia the lead 92-90, until Jayson Castro came through with a booming triple to save TNT.
“Jayson is doing what Jayson does. He’s been doing that for so long. That’s been in his resumé—a big shot,” Williams said of the longtime TNT cornerstone.
“It was either shoot or miss. It was still a good look for us because that’s what (the Magnoila) defense gave us. As a veteran, I needed to hit that. At the same time, we also needed to win this Game 3,” said Castro.
“Tough scrappy win. I’m just glad we pulled it out. Jayson came and saved the day,” said Williams, who is being groomed by Chot Reyes as the franchise’s new spearhead.
TNT dodged a massive bullet that night, but Williams knows that improvements in the team’s play are needed to keep the club from going through another tight game as this series plods along.
“A real relief,” he said. [But] we see some things we need to work on and definitely a lot of things to make adjustments on so we’re going to do that.”
Castro echoed William’s remarks, saying that if there’s anything that makes Magnolia really tick, it’s the Hotshots’ ability to apply tweaks almost instantly.
“This is a series—a game of adjustments. And Magnolia’s skilled, which is why they’re always in the playoffs, and even in the semifinals,” the veteran guard said.
“But we also see a lot within us that we could fix and could help us greatly in the next game.”
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