PBA: Johnathan Williams III credits young Phoenix players in hot streak
MANILA, Philippines—Johnathan Williams III filled up the stat sheet in Phoenix’s 99-98 win over Converge in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and there’s a pretty good reason why.
Despite puffing up his chest and owning up to his monster double-double of 27 points and 16 rebounds on an efficient 57 percent field goal shooting clip, Williams III shouted out the Fuel Masters’ developing young core.
“They are young but they’re very smart. They all have high IQ on the court and when they cut I can find them. They help me get a bit looser, I can get to my points also,” said the big man at Philsports Arena on Saturday.
“Basketball is a team sport. I need them like they need me.”
Also included in the 28-year-old’s stat lines are two steals and two blocks but none more impressive than his court vision that gave him six assists in the process.
His unselfishness on the court gave way for coach Jamike Jarin’s young guns to contribute much-needed points, especially in a down-the-wire affair against the FiberXers.
“I always have to get my teammates involved early to get the confidence they need to close out games. If a player doesn’t touch the ball for so long, they’ll be out of rhythm so they have to find their rhythm,” explained the former NBA player.
The rookie tandem of Ricci Rivero and Ken Tuffin proved their mettle against Converge after combining for 20 points with the former tallying 12 points in the process.
Tuffin, meanwhile, was also the swingman who sank the game-sealing short stab to help Phoenix improve to 5-1.
Williams III admitted that despite help from the squad’s young core, it was still tough to emerge victorious against the Aldin Ayo-led squad.
“It took an entire unit and team to go out there and take the win. They made a lot of runs throughout the entire game but we stayed together and we fought hard until the end. I appreciate my teammates for always being there for me.”