TWO-TIME PBA Most Valuable Player Willie Miller swears he’s not over the hill yet.
Traded back to Barako Bull during Draft Day for veteran center Enrico Villanueva, the charismatic 5-foot-11 guard said he’s more determined than ever to play his best despite coming off career-lows in minutes played, points, rebounds, and assists in his final conference with Globalport.
“Dati nga, akala ko dito (Barako Bull) na ako mag-re-retire eh. Hopefully, ganun uli, though sinasabi ko sa lahat ng nakakausap ko, last years na ng career ko, alam ko naman,” Miller confided to Spin.ph after spending his second day of practice with the new-look Barako Bull squad.
The veteran out of Letran felt he’s got enough left in his 36-year-old body.
“Kailangan ma-maximize para hangga’t makatulong, tutulong ako. Sayang naman kasi gusto ko lang naman manalo,” he added.
Miller was acquired by Globalport just last year in a blockbuster trade that involved Barako Bull, Petron, Alaska, and Ginebra.
The lefty Miller was supposed to serve as the catalyst for the Batang Pier during their maiden season in the league, but his minutes started to go down midway through the Commissioner’s Cup.
By the end of the Governors Cup, Miller saw his stats reach career-lows in every category: 17.0 minutes, 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.
With a year left in his contract, Miller is keeping his fingers crossed that he’ll be able to win a championship with Barako, and possibly explore a fresh contract extension with the franchise.
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, sana i-maximize pa ako ng one or two years, or mag-transition ako from player to coach,” said Miller, whose distinguished career also includes three Mythical First Team, two Best Player of the Conference, awards, and one Finals MVP.
“Gusto ko rin kasi mag-coach eh. Gusto ko rin maipasa `yung mga magandang na-experience ko sa ma-a-under sa akin. Sa dami ng coaches na napaglaruan ko, ang dami kong natutunan.”
The native of Olongapo City is now on his sixth team in the league since being drafted No.1 overall pick by Red Bull in the 2001 Draft.
He also played for Talk ‘N Text, Alaska, Ginebra, Barako Bull, and Globalport.