K-Will finds scoring touch, leads Tropang Giga to doorstep of league’s crown jewel | Inquirer Sports
THE OTHER WILLIAMS

K-Will finds scoring touch, leads Tropang Giga to doorstep of league’s crown jewel

/ 05:20 AM September 01, 2022
Kelly Williams TNT PBA Finals

TNT forward Kelly Williams attacks the paint past the defense of San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at Smart Araneta Coliseum. PBA IMAGES

Kelly Williams recalls enjoying what was a brief retirement two years ago, unmindful of the possibility of playing a starring role in a PBA Finals game.

“Less than two years ago, I was sitting on my couch eating Doritos,” said the former Most Valuable Player, who returned to the TNT camp in March 2021 when Chot Reyes was hired back as coach.

ADVERTISEMENT

Who would have thought he would be the spearhead of a key victory for the Tropang Giga in a crucial Finals game?

“It’s pretty ridiculous, right?” Williams said after posting 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals that gave TNT a 102-93 win over San Miguel Beer and the all-important 3-2 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup championship series on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

FEATURED STORIES

Tasked primarily to defend June Mar Fajardo since the title series began, the 40-year-old Williams did more than expected and became part of a key stretch for the Tropang Giga, who carved out the win despite losing skipper Jayson Castro to an ankle injury in the third period.

It was the best performance Williams, whose retirement in September 2020 lasted just six months, becoming a main fixture on the Tropang Giga roster.

“There’s no question that if this man hadn’t came back, I wouldn’t have,” Williams said, pointing at Reyes.

Williams bucked early foul trouble and was part of a critical stretch in the third when he hit one of three triples that enabled TNT to turn a 74-73 deficit into an 84-75 lead entering the fourth.

He even outscored Fajardo by a point, a welcome surprise considering Williams’ primary focus is to force the Best Player of the Conference into tough situations and difficult looks in the post.

“[P]ersonally, I wouldn’t have came back if I didn’t believe that I would be in this position again,” Williams said.

The athletic big man also played a key role in last year’s Philippine Cup run in Bacolor town in Pampanga, and became part of the All-Defensive Team at season’s end.

ADVERTISEMENT

Now he has chance of giving the Tropang Giga another championship.

Williams’ performance came with Castro going down in the third when he stepped on the foot of Marcio Lassiter while going for a pass, rolling his right ankle in the process.

Castro never returned, but others stepped up other than Williams, including Poy Erram, who had 17 points and seven rebounds despite a bad sprain in practice, team top scorer Mikey Williams, RR Pogoy and even reserves Kib Montalbo and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.

The collective effort amid Castro’s absence propelled TNT one win shy of retaining its hold as kingpin of the all-Filipino tournament, with Friday’s Game 6 providing the team its first chance of finishing off San Miguel.

“I thought we fought with a lot of courage,” said Reyes. “We always say that when one man goes down, there’s no one man that can fill Jayson Castro’s shoes.

“But every other person in their own little way can. So that’s what happened, everyone pitched in to be able to compensate and fill what we lacked with the absence of Jayson.”

Mikey Williams finished with 23 points, four rebounds and five assists to lead the Tropang Giga as he too found his scoring amidst a tough Beermen defense on him in previous games.

RR Pogoy had 14 points after leading TNT’s offense in the first four games of the series and shot a poor six-of-19 from the field. Castro had eight before walking off the game.

Fajardo again punched in huge numbers for San Miguel, 20 points and 16 rebounds, as he made nine of his 13 shots. But Williams’ scoring made him work a little harder on defense this time.

Jericho Cruz had 16 points while Mo Tautuaa added 12 for the Beermen. CJ Perez chipped in 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Kelly Williams, PBA Finals, PBA Philippine Cup, TNT Tropang Giga
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2023 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.