PBA: Kelly Williams holds own vs June Mar Fajardo in TNT win | Inquirer Sports
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PBA: Kelly Williams holds own vs June Mar Fajardo in TNT win

/ 10:55 PM February 19, 2023

Kelly Williams TNT PBA

TNT forward Kelly Williams shoots over San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo. PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—TNT big man Kelly Williams thrived in his matchup against San Miguel star June Mar Fajardo in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday.

Williams overshadowed the six-time MVP’s subpar performance in the Tropang Giga’s 105-103 squeaker against the Beermen.

“With any player, when you play against the greats, the night before you already have to start getting your mind right and obviously, June Mar is one of, if not, the greatest to ever play here. [It’s] definitely one of my hardest challenges,” said Williams.

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“I made sure I got extra rest, a good meal, calming my mind to get ready for war,” he added.

Well-prepared, Williams gave TNT a big lift on offense with 16 points on top of three rebounds and two assists. He also provided significant contributions on the defensive end as Fajardo’s primary defender.

Despite the significant height difference, Williams limited Fajardo to just 12 points as the shorthanded Tropang Giga managed to escape with a victory on a buzzer-beating putback by Calvin Oftana.

William’s efforts certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

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“Kelly tonight was huge, no doubt. He’s the best player of the game but more than that, we know when Kelly is against June Mar, he forgets he’s 41. We’re gonna need Kelly in the playoffs like all the other guys,” said coach Jojo Lastimosa.

TNT won despite missing one of its top gunners in Roger Pogoy, who is out with an ankle injury he suffered in a 111-104 victory over Meralco on Friday.

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The Tropang Giga then had to make do without another one of their stars in Mikey Williams in the middle of the game on Sunday after the hot-shooting swingman went down with an ankle injury of his own just before halftime.

Despite the injury woes, Lastimosa and Williams assured TNT (8-1) still has the pieces to sustain its torrid start in the season-ending conference.

“These guys are built for this. I know there is a playoff atmosphere here with San Miguel and us at 7-1, I did expect much from them this game […] health-wise, Mikey, I don’t know how long he’s going to be out. Roger, also, will be out for a while,” said the top coach.

“Last conference prepared us for times like these. We knew that, obviously, one person can fill the shoes of a Roger or a Mikey. Coach told us at the half, everybody has to be ready,” said Williams, who was recently called up for national team duty.

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TNT aims to strengthen its hold of the top spot against lowly Northport at PhilSports Arena on March 15.

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