THE MINDANAO Aguilas were surprised to end up getting Michael Williams, calling the Fil-Am guard “the future of Philippine basketball” who should've been taken first in the PBA D-League rookie draft.
The former NBA D-League player wound up being available at sixth and the Aguilas, making their PBA D-League debut this season, are naturally elated.
“Masaya kami sa pick namin. We are thankful and blessed because we really want him to be part of the team,” said Mindanao Aguilas part-owner Rolando Navarro.
Williams, picked by the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA D-League in 2014, now completes what Navarro believes is a competitive squad that will make its debut in the Foundation Cup next month.
After college at Cal State Fullerton, Williams averaged 4.7 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists for the in 39 games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce — enough to convince the Mindanao Aguilas that they picked the right player in the draft.
“We saw him play in the States. Everytime we are in the States, nakikita namin siya maglaro. He is the future of Philippine basketball.”
Mindanao Aguilas team manager Serge Orillo said he even expected Williams to be the top pick in this year’s draft. Jason Perkins of La Salle wound up being taken first overall by Keramix.
“Even ourselves, we didn’t expect him to end in sixth because we expect him sa first and second pick,” Orillo said.
“Hindi pa nila siguro kilala si Michael Williams,” Navarro added. “Kilala siya sa Amerika pero sa Pilipinas, hindi pa masyado.”
Williams, listed as a 6-foot-2 guard who also played for University of San Francisco, can even be compared to another player who is currently in the NBA D-League in Bobby Ray Parks, the Aguilas said.
“Parang Ray Parks. For us, he can compete with Ray Parks,” said Navarro, who added Williams also saw action in the Drew League where Houston Rockets star James Harden played in the summer.
In his only year with Cal State Fullerton in the 2013-2014 season, Williams posted 17.35 points, 4.13 rebounds, and 2.45 assists en route to becoming the Newcomer of the Year in the Big West Conference following a three-year stint with San Francisco, where he averaged 14.71 points, and 4.03 rebounds per outing in his sophomore year in 2010-2011.
Navarro said he expects Williams, who even played for Team Pacquiao in Los Angeles, to join the team in February.
“Mga ilang games siguro (hindi siya makakalaro) kasi may mga papers na hinihintay pa. We already talked to his manager in the States,” said Navarro.