IF it's spinach for Popeye, it’s mustard for Mikey Williams.
Part of the sophomore guard’s pre-game ritual with TNT is having a little mustard serving, a practice which Williams said he began to adopt while still in high school.
To be specific, the popular condiment helps the 31-year-old guard restrain cramps during games.
“That’s my secret sauce to help save some cramps up,” disclosed Williams. “Since I was young, I’ve always have back cramps when I play excessively.
“Obviously, I’m not drinking enough water, enough salt in my system. Enough iron. So that’s my secret stuff.”
Spinach of course, gets Popeye going, and mustard does the same for Williams.
But on Sunday night, the Fil-Am guard limped out of the match against Barangay Ginebra in an 89-85 loss as cramps got the better end of him.
With main man Jayson Castro going out with a sprained ankle, and Kib Montalbo still out after an appendectomy procedure, the 6-foot-2 gunner had to play extended minutes and finished with 20 points, including six three pointers, seven rebounds, and five assists.
But he struggled late in the game after cramps began to catch up on him.
Still, that doesn’t stop him from doing the same thing over and over again every time he plays.
“I started that in high school, my junior year when I started taking this game a lot seriously,” said Williams. “And then I carried it on throughout my career.”
Mustard contains acetic acid, which when in shortage could cause cramps. This is why mustard, especially yellow mustard, is believed to be effective for leg cramp relief.
Another alternative Williams used to avoid leg cramps is pickle juice.
“I used to drink pickle juice, too. But I can’t find a good pickle juice out here,” he said. “So I stuck with mustard.”
Any mustard, local or branded ones can do, according to last year’s top rookie.
“We have mustard here every game. I take a squeeze before a game. I take a couple of squeeze if I have time, and that gets me through the game,” said Williams.
While other athletes of different sports outside of basketball are also doing it, Williams said he’d rather not recommend it for others to try.
“Just a couple of squeeze and I’m good. I don’t take too much, it’s kind of nasty,” he said in between laughs. “So I don’t recommend anybody to do that.”