MIKEY Williams came through with a performance to remember as the clutch rookie almost singlehandedly carried TnT Tropang Giga in a 106-98 loss to Magnolia on Sunday night in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
The 28-year-old guard bombed away from the outside, firing a total of 10 three-pointers on the way to a 39-point explosion in a virtual shooting clinic that had the Hotshots on the edge of their seats until the waning seconds of Game 3.
When the smoke of battle cleared, the Hotshots had trimmed the series deficit at 1-2 and could only heave a sigh of relief after surviving one of the most stunning shooting displays seen from a rookie in PBA Finals history.
Williams’ 10 three-pointers are now a new record for a freshman player, surpassing the eight made by fellow rookie Calvin Oftana of NLEX early in the eliminations.
PBA Finals record
The 10 treys also erased the most number of three-pointers made in a PBA Finals at nine recorded by TnT teammate Jayson Castro during Game 2 of the Commissioner Cup title series against Rain or Shine in 2015.
His 39-point output is also the most by a rookie in a title series in more than two decades or since former MVP Eric Menk erupted for 42 points for Tanduay in Game 3 of the 1999 All-Filipino finals against Formula Shell. The Rhum Masters ironically, also lost that game in Ormoc City, 91-81.
No wonder Magnolia was simply blown away by Williams’ offensive explosion.
“Nabuhay siya para umiskor talaga,” said Magnolia gunner Paul Lee, who scored 21 points to lead the way for the team.
Coach Chito Victolero also tipped his hat to Williams, who averaged 24.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in the first two games of the series.
“Alam naman natin NBA caliber (siya). He played in the D-League,” said the Magnolia mentor. “Yung bata naman talaga, nakita natin kahit anong ilagay namin, he scores. He loves to score.”
Against a franchise that takes pride in its defense, Williams torching the Hotshots with an awe-inspiring shooting performance – the Fil-Am was 10-of-18 from downtown and 14-of-25 from the field.
Victolero admitted Magnolia will never get to contain Williams, who at one point of the highly-physical encounter, had to be taken on defense by veteran big man Rafi Reavis.
But managing his point production will definitely do the team good moving forward in the series.
“Hindi mo na ma-stop yun. Ma-limit lang siguro namin siya under 50 points, (Ok na),” the Magnolia coach said in jest.
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