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    Resurgent Kelly Williams on brink of second title since unretiring

    Aug 31, 2022
    Kelly Williams Montalbo
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    KELLY Williams and TNT are on the brink of a second PBA Philippine Cup title after a Game Five performance to remember on Wednesday night.

    The 40-year-old Williams scored a conference-high 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds to provide the huge lift in a 102-93 win over San Miguel that gave the Tropang Giga a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven finals.

    The former league MVP is in vintage form since coming out of a brief retirement during the offseason entering the 2021 campaign and is now on the cusp of winning a second championship since then.

    [See TNT on the cusp of PBA Philippine Cup repeat]

    “It’s pretty ridiculous, right?” said Williams, when reminded on Wednesday that he is once again in position to win a championship after coming out of retirement. “Less than two years ago, I was sitting on my couch, eating Doritos.”

    Williams reiterated that his return had a lot to do with Reyes returning as coach.

    “I’ve said it. No question that if (coach Chot) hadn’t came back, I wouldn’t have. I’m in no better situation other than to be with coach Chot," said Williams, who has battled health issues in a PBA career that started with Sta. Lucia in 2006.

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      "For myself personally, I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t believe I would be in this position again. We got great guys, coaching staff, the organization, the support, and the unity there, to me, is unmatched. I’m grateful to be here,” said Williams.

      Williams played a key role in TNT winning two straight games after falling behind, 2-1, in the finals series, all while their leader Jayson Castro was down with an ankle sprain during the third quarter of the ballgame.

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      The former PBA MVP expressed confidence that his team can overcome any challengess they try to close out the series. There's no excuse not to do so, citing Reyes, who has been dealing heavy criticism for his role coach of Gilas Pilipinas.

      Kelly Williams

      “This team is built for adversity. We had guys in and out throughout the year. Of course, Jayson is a huge part of why we are here but we know it’s on us to try to fill the shoes collectively. I think everyone responded very well. Coaches trained us for moments like this.

      "When you see your coach going through the ridicule, the sh*t in media and just throughout the Philippines, and the way he has handled it, we have no excuse to look at anything and put our heads down," he added.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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