Jolas, Mikey agree: Chemistry boosting TNT bid
Mikey Williams agrees that TNT’s perch at the top of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup was brought about by one crucial factor.
“The chemistry’s definitely been a building block,” the dynamic scorer told the Inquirer on his way out of PhilSports Arena in Pasig City late Sunday night, after the Tropang Giga eked past San Miguel Beer, 105-103, for the tournament solo lead.
Having Williams hop on the chemistry wagon is as important as who he is agreeing with as far as TNT’s reason for early success.
Back in October, Williams was penalized for skipping practices and taking leaves without prior notice. And current TNT interim coach Jojo Lastimosa, a member of the fabled Alaska Milk crew known for being sticklers for professionalism, had choice words for the 31-year-old guard.
It was Lastimosa who cued reporters in on how chemistry has been working well for TNT.
“Coming in here, I had no clue what was going to happen to us,” he said on Sunday.
“[It took] a lot of collaboration with the coaches because as I was saying, the [players] don’t know me very well yet,” he added. “I’m still trying to earn their trust slowly, and that’s going to take time. I’m just surprised that the response is this record.”
That record currently stands at 8-1 (win-loss) after Sunday’s game.
“Each game we’ve played has allowed us to learn a little bit more about ourselves, and right now we’re clicking on all cylinders,” said Williams.
“I am proud of this team. We showed a lot of grit and fought through adversity—something we cannot control—and then managed to close things out [tonight],” he added.
And how’s this for adversity: Against erstwhile coleader San Miguel, TNT was without defensive anchor Poy Erram (bone spurs), deadeye gunner Roger Pogoy (bone bruise), and, halfway through that game, Williams (rolled ankle).
Having won 10 PBA titles as a pro and three more as an assistant coach, Lastimosa is no stranger to the value of playing on the same page.
“They know that I’ve played a long time and that for me, the most important thing really is chemistry,” he said. “We’re beginning to see that in the coaches and in the players, too.” INQ