AFTER one conference away from the PBA, veteran guard Willie Miller immediately saw what he missed.
Playing in his first game for Talk 'N Text in his return in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league, Miller knew right away he’s still not in tip-top form despite playing in several ‘ligang labas’ while in temporary hibernation from the PBA during the season-opening Philippine Cup.
“Masyadong matulin 'yung basketball dito sa Talk `N Text,” said Miller in jest, obviously still feeling he has to work on his conditioning in order to keep pace with the Tropang Texters’ vaunted running game.
The two-time league MVP came off the bench and provided 10 points, to go with three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in helping Talk ‘N Text pull off an 89-86 win over a tough Rain or Shine side on Wednesday night at the Astrodome.
For someone who only joined the Tropang Texters two days before the mid-season conference fired off, Miller admitted he still has a lot of catching up to do to be able to contribute consistently to the team.
“Iyung first few minutes ko, depensa, takbo, depensa, takbo. Kaya di pa sanay ang katawan ko sa bilis ng tibok ng puso ko,” he added. “As a player, importante maka-adjust agad yung katawan ko.”
Now in the twilight of his colorful and brilliant career, the 37-year-old said he no longer expects to play 30 minutes every game, but maintains he can still serve as a voice inside the court especially with longtime team captain Jimmy Alapag now retired and serving as Talk `N Text’s new team manager.
“Iyun (leadership) ang siguro pupunan ko dahil si Jimmy ganun naman. So yung second and third group, walang masyadong nagsasalita. Eh ako naman, maingay ako masyado,” Miller, who played two seasons with Talk 'N Text from 2004 to 2006, said smiling.
“Mas masarap kasi makita 'yung kakampi na they play as one.”
Given a second chance of playing in the league, Miller vowed to give his best, read the situation, and provide instant scoring by using his vast experience culled from 14 seasons of playing in the league.
“Automatic naman kasi pag player ka, makikita mo ang mismatch. Kaya mo mag-create, kaya ganun ang gagawin ko,” he said.