HOW San Miguel will be able to defend Mikey Williams will perhaps play a major role in the result of its semifinal showdown against TNT in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
And Beermen coach Leo Austria knows that they will have a hands full in doing so, not just on what he is capable of doing on both offense and defense, but also how he makes his teammates better.
“Definitely, Mikey Williams is one of the best players in the PBA right now,” said Austria. “A lot of respect not only from us but every team.”
The Beermen will be facing the top-seed Tropang GIGA, who finished the elimination round with a 10-1 win-loss thanks to the addition of Williams, the fourth pick in last year’s PBA draft.
Williams is averaging 17.7 points a game, while also adding 4.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.2 steals for a TNT team eyeing to regain a place in the finals after losing to Barangay Ginebra in last year’s bubble.
Incidentally, Williams also keyed in TNT’s ousting of Ginebra in the quarterfinals, finishing with 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in the 84-71 win.
How will SMB stop Mikey Williams?
Austria said he is wary about Williams’ all-around play, from scoring to his durability while playing heavy minutes, and being a facilitator for the Tropang GIGA.
“May tendency to take over. Siya ang great player na napagdidikit-dikit niya ‘yung team niya at makikita mo ‘yung leadership niya. He can play lot of minutes and he is always there. If you look at the playing minutes, talagang napakataas.”
Incidentally, the only time he didn’t play in 30 or more minutes this conference was against San Miguel as Williams was only fielded for 28 minutes when the Beermen outclassed TNT to an 83-67 win. Williams only had seven points and four assists while shooting 3 of 13 from the field.
The result could change come the semifinals with the stakes now higher.
“The good thing with him is his teammates are very comfortable with him. That’s why for me, he is a great player because he is making his teammates great also,” said Austria of Williams.
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