ANTIPOLO – Mikey Williams showcased his old form on Friday in the huge TNT win over Rain or Shine after he struggled at the start of the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Coming off the bench for the second time this conference, Williams scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Tropang GIGA’s comeback from 18 points down on the way to a 105-100 win over Rain or Shine,
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The Season 46 Rookie of the Year also hit the biggest basket of the game, nailing a three over Beau Belga with 26 seconds left that all but sealed the Tropang GIGA's second win in as many games to start the conference.
Not bad, really, for a player who is coming off injuries and had a rare off-night in the opening win against Phoenix where the Fil-Am guard only had nine points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field.
TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa said Williams is still finding his groove after suffering an injury during the Philippine Cup finals - the reason TNT relegated him to a second-stringer role.
“There’s a reason why he was coming off the bench at the beginning. He wasn’t in shape. Not yet. He really had a difficult time rehabbing his two Achilles heels. Mikey is eventually going back to the starting line-up,” said Lastimosa.
A performance to remember on Friday should hasten his return to the starting lineup.
“But you can see he already started in the second half. Eventually, it’s going to be like that. That’s his spot," Lastimosa assured. "Now, we can see that he is already close to his normal self. You can see more of him, of course."
Lastimosa also believed Williams played his best defensive performance in a TNT uniform in this game.
“The best I’ve seen in how many times, and the few months I’ve been here,” said Lastimosa. “That’s what we demand from Mikey. He is not only an offensive player. If he wants to be a very good defensive player, he can do it. He has the tools. It’s not only the scoring but Mikey defended really well tonight.”
Williams said he is now getting enough rest to recover from the injury.But he is also pacing himself to be at full strength in the most important contests.
“It’s definitely getting better. It’s from the finals in the all-Filipino Cup. Just me playing through it kinda hurt a little more. I just try to gradually get it back each and everyday,” said Williams.
“We know it’s a long season. I just have to gradually find my rhythm throughout the games. It’s only Game Two. Game Three on Wednesday and that’s where I’m shifting my focus,” said Williams.