VETERAN Willy Wilson called it a career on Friday night after Phoenix’s final game in Season 44 of the PBA.
There was hardly any fanfare in the veteran forward’s final outing as a pro, which was made significant by the Fuel Masters’ 120-117 overtime win over Blackwater in their Governors Cup game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Hobble by injuries the past few years, the 39-year-old Wilson was a DNP (Did Not Play) in his last game prior to retirement.
He hang up his jersey the same day as teammate Doug Kramer.
But a spot in the Phoenix coaching staff awaits Wilson if he wants it.
“Mag-retire na rin 'yun and he’ll be with my coaching staff na,” said Phoenix mentor Louie Alas. “Most likely, depende sa usap nila (with management). Pero ako nirekomenda ko.”
Alas admitted Wilson has a future in coaching, describing the Fil-Am from Los Angeles, California as a thinking player.
“Medyo malalim din, e. So malaki ang magiging role niya sa big men ko. Yun ang primary job niya lagi, yung mag-seal ng mag-seal, humingi ng job sa post. He’s good at that,” said Alas.
Wilson likes the idea of coaching, but Alas said the pay is definitely a lot different compared to that of a player.
“Siyempre depende sa economy kung ano ang mangyayari. Iba yung pay ng player, iba yung pay ng coach. Definitely a lot [different].”
It was Wilson who brought up the plan about retiring, according to Alas, as the wear and tear of the game caught up with him
“Because of age na rin siguro. Tapos most of the time, gagaling 'yung injury pero isang hard practice lang sumasakit na ulit (injury). So sabi niya kailangan ko na sigurong magpahinga,” said the Phoenix coach.
Known as a blue-collar player out of De La Salle, the 6-foot-3 Wilson was a second round pick (15th overall) by Alaska in the 2004 draft.
In 15 years in the PBA, he suited up for the Aces, San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra, Barako Bull, and Phoenix.
His stay with the Kings was the best in his pro career, where he won a championship during the 2008 Fiesta Conference.
It was also with Ginebra that Wilson made the All-Defensive team in 2011.