MAGNANIMOUS in victory.
Import Justin Williams said he’s long moved on from the unpleasant experience of being unceremoniously dumped by Globalport during the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
He even referred to the firing as a "blessing in disguise" as it eventually paved the way for him to join San Miguel Beer and win an Asean Basketball League (ABL) championship.
Humble as he is, the NBA veteran said neither was he vindicated by the success he had with the Beermen.
“I never felt vindicated,” said Williams, 29, almost a week after the Beermen dethroned the Indonesia Warriors in the Finals behind a three-game sweep.
“I think it was a blessing in disguise,” he added. “I never had any bitter feelings about them (Globalport).”
The 6-foot-10 Williams came over to play for the Batang Pier loaded with heavy credentials, having played for the Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets. His rebounding and shot-blocking abilities also appeared to be a perfect fit for Globalport, which boasts of a slew of scoring guards in Gary David, Willie Miller, and Sol Mercado.
The Batang Pier began their campaign by winning their first two games with Williams churning out a double-double average and leading the league in rebounding and shotblocks.
But then, the effort appeared not enough as Globalport promptly decided to replace him when the team found itself in the midst of a losing streak.
In no time, Williams found himself hooking up with another local team in San Miguel in the ABL to take over the place of Gabe Freeman.
This time the partnership with the Beermen bore fruit.
Williams’ intimidating presence inside fortified San Miguel’s defense, and allowed veteran big man Asi Taulava to concentrate more on providing offense for the team.
The end result: A 16-game winning streak for the Beermen – the longest in ABL history – on the way to winning their breakthrough ABL title.
San Miguel went 20-1 overall with Williams in the lineup, the lone loss coming against Thailand Slammers in the opener of their semifinals series.
“He became a game-changer for us,” said Taulava, the season MVP, of Williams. “(The Globalport) coaching staff I don’t know what they’re thinking. The guy’s averaging double-double and they decided to replace him.”
Again, Williams would rather not say anything harsh against his former team.
Instead, he even credited Globalport for bringing him to the country and introducing him to basketball-loving Filipinos.
“If not for them I would never be here at all,” said Williams.
Truly a magnanimous guy.