KELLY Williams finally flashed his old, deadly form on Saturday night in Talk `N Text’s thrilling 121-117 overtime win over Alaska in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup.
And yet, the Fil-Am forward will be the first one to claim he’s not yet 100 percent in game shape after taking a seven-month medical leave of absence last year.
“I’m still far from 100 percent, but I’m getting there,” Williams told Spin.ph, playing down his first double-double performance for the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Aces.
“I’ve been hard on myself the whole conference. Our team can see it, in my face and my body when I’m practicing and in the games they know I’m frustrated,” he admitted.
“But coach Norman (Black) is always reminding me to be patient because no one takes seven months off and comes back 100 percent, so I’ve got to be mindful of that.”
The 31-year-old former league MVP, who is battling a rare blood disorder called immune thrombocytopnia purpura (ITP), said he’s happy with the current medicine he’s been taking since he doesn’t have to deal with side effects, unlike with his old medication.
“It’s (new medicine) more effective and without the side effects. So I’m getting my body back and losing the weight the other medicines put on,” he said.
“Psychologically, I’m a little better clear-minded. But I’m still going through some withdrawals, and getting off (the old) medicines but … to play what I feel should be at par in my standards is encouraging,” added Williams, also a former Rookie of the Year.
Williams played a total of 38 minutes against the Aces, the longest playing time he’s had in his return after a self-imposed sabbatical from the game.
The positive side, according to Williams is that he didn’t feel exhausted in anyway, unlike in the last four seasons when he would feel drained after playing more than 30 minutes in a game.
“For the past four years plus, I’ve been dealing with this thing. I’d be exhausted after 25 minutes. Thirty minutes is a stretch,” shared the 6-foot-7 Williams.
“But going through the grind this conference, at the start and now, I start to see the light a little bit.”