LIKE how TNT Katropa displayed its old, dominant form as a unit, Kelly Williams flashed his vintage form that sparked the Texters’ 117-98 win over Phoenix in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Friday night.
Coming off a 19-point, eight-rebound performance last Friday, the Texters big man sustained his solid play a week later as he poured in 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 10 boards, along with one assist and steal in just 19 minutes as a starter.
And Williams credits their “new-old” coach in Nash Racela for his recent resurgence that has come after a season where he averaged just 5.8 points and 4.5 boards in 16.5 minutes.
"I think a lot of it has to do with coach Nash and him knowing me as a player, putting me in a position to succeed, putting me in a position to maximize me as a player,” the former league MVP said. “And for me as a player, that kind of trust helps me with my confidence.”
While he has played under champion coaches in Chot Reyes, Norman Black, and Jong Uichico, Williams can already say that the young Racela, who had been a TNT assistant for more than half a decade, knows how to use him.
"I can say that about coach Nash because he's been with me since 2010 even with the other coaches, so he knows me as a player, my strengths,” the 34-year-old slotman said. “And his emphasis is to put me in a position where I can exercise those strengths. And it's helping me a lot.”
“And just the fact that all the guys are working hard and doing the best they can, I'm just trying to maximize my minutes when I'm out there,” he added.
But the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American cager stressed there’s also a conscious effort from himself to deliver and help the Texters regain lost glory.
"Absolutely. I know what the team needs,” Williams said. “And personally, I know I can score. I can do all the things I've done before.”
“But whatever the team needs, that's always what I'm thinking of before every game,” he was quick to add. “What do they need of me? And majority of the time it's defensive rebounding, so I try to focus on that and whatever else comes, it's a bonus for me.”