At 36, Kelly Williams feels he jumps higher now that he did during MVP year
Kelly Williams once again turned back the clock for TNT. Marlo Cueto

AS he caught a bounce pass from Jayson Castro while lurking in the paint, Kelly Williams gathered himself and casually took off for the two-handed throwdown in the third quarter – just one of three dunks he showcased in TNT’s 90-85 win over Kia in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday.

He’s about to turn 36, yet the veteran feels he’s as athletic as ever – even more than when he was younger.

“I jump higher which is weird because I’m 36 next week,” wondered Williams, who will celebrate his birthday on February 7. “But it’s been a process I can’t be any more grateful with what I have, the opportunities I get, you know my teammates trusted me so I’ve been fortunate.”               

“It’s been a big adjustment, this is my twelfth year in the league and you know to go from the role I have in Sta. Lucia to coming to TNT and changing and evolving over the years,” the former league MVP added. “I consider myself a better player than I was during my MVP years - mentality, approach to the game, and physical abilities.”

Williams registered 23 points, eight boards, one assist, and one block in almost 32 minutes against the Picanto as he stepped up for the Texters in the absence of Mo Tautuaa, who’s out due to food poisoning.  

“It felt good to shoot and be free,” said Williams, who took 18 attempts. “The bigs had their hands full tonight because Mo wasn’t here so we gave extra effort on the offensive side today and it paid off.”

Whether the Texters’ frontline is a man down or not, Williams is eager to consistently be aggressive for his team.

“You know that’s (being aggressive) every players’ mindset,” the Filipino-American cager said. “You wanna do the best you can with the minutes they have. When I talked to guys … I tell them to take advantage of the time you have because you never know what can happen (so) make the best of it.”

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“That’s what I did with Sta. Lucia, the roles changed when I got to TNT, but it doesn’t change – take advantage with the time you have,” he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos