Johnathan Williams, wind beneath Phoenix’s wings, has no airs
PBA COMMISSIONER'S CUP

Johnathan Williams, wind beneath Phoenix’s wings, has no airs

/ 05:25 AM January 14, 2024

Phoenix Fuel Masters' Jonathan Williams

Phoenix Fuel Masters’ Jonathan Williams in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIREr.net

Phoenix’s rise to the twice-to-beat advantage entering the quarterfinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup had much to do with having an import who is not only talented but is also far from being a head case.

“Walang toyo (He has no airs),” said Fuel Masters captain RJ Jazul of import Johnathan Williams. “He’s also an all-around player and is very unselfish. That’s why we’re lucky to have him on the team.”

Williams had been a terrific presence on a relatively young team that will head to the quarterfinals hoping it won’t need to reach for a playoff bonus against an opponent that will be known after Phoenix plays TNT on Sunday evening at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

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The Fuel Masters go into the match with an 8-2 record, a victory giving them the second seed and a date with the seventh-ranked Rain or Shine Elastopainters, whose position is already a guarantee regardless of the outcome of their match with the lowly Converge FiberXers.

But a loss could relegate Phoenix to as low as fourth, but still with the valuable playoffs protection.

Ginebra triumphs

Ginebra clinched the last available twice-to-beat spot after beating NLEX, 103-99, at Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Legazpi City.

Williams has produced 27.6 points, 15.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks per game, numbers that validated his pedigree as a former National Basketball Association player with the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards.

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Williams’ production does lower at times, but only because his teammates have been stepping up for coach Jamike Jarin, especially lefty forward Jason Perkins.

Perkins is the team’s top local scorer at 13.8 points per game and his play at both ends has been at an All-Star level.

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Tyler Tio, rookies Kenneth Tuffin and Ricci Rivero, Jazul, Javee Mocon, Sean Manganti and J-Jay Alejandro have also been consistent during Phoenix’s run to its first twice-to-beat incentive since the 2020 Philippine Cup.

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