Up against SMB wall of guards, Mikey Williams stands fast

Aug 23, 2022

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LEAGUE top scorer, Mikey, who has previously faced all three SMC teams in the playoffs bravely iterates, ““I’m expecting them to do the same thing that any other San Miguel team that I’ve played so far has done.”

When TNT faces longtime rival San Miguel Beer to defend its PBA Philippine Cup championship, Mikey Williams anticipates being a marked man once more.

A semi-final matchup between Magnolia and Williams and the Tropang Giga saw the 30 year old put to the test by one of the league’s top defensive teams. 

He scored 28 points in Game Two, but would never top 15 in the entire series. He faced a wide range of defenders, including the backcourt duo of Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon and the wings Rome Dela Rosa and Adrian Wong. 

But the former fourth-round pick seemed unconcerned by it. Williams was actually happy to have shown off his passing ability because it was getting harder to score. 

He had 10 assists in Game 3 and would not have another game with fewer than five assists the rest of the semis, which TNT won in six games.

Williams said, “You know, people say I was defended well. I think they did a great job on me. But, they made me pass the ball more.“ He continues to say, “I’m a willing passer … The overall outcome of us just getting wins was most important to me.”

He now expects the Beermen defense to come out swinging when the best-of-seven championship round begins on Sunday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. 

Williams would be competing against the sole five-time Philippine Cup champions for the second time in the playoffs. In the previous all-Filipino warfare, which the Tropa won in seven games, he had faced them in the semifinals.

“They have Chris Ross, or I’m thinking maybe CJ Perez or Simon Enciso on me,” said Williams. “And I just gotta be on my A-game.

“This is for all the money, you know. This is for everything that we prayed and hoped for at the start of the season and I just think I gotta be me in order for us to be successful. But first it starts with the team and everything else follows.”

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year Chris Ross presented a challenge to the Fil-Am cager throughout that series, therefore he anticipates his good friend Chris Ross and a large number of other defenders to line up in front of him in the future match.

A throwback to 3 years ago, Mikey Williams showed team chemistry with Jeremiah Gray

The first issue to be solved in whatever competition Mighty Sports-Philippines has entered has always been chemistry. 

The club, which includes players from all around the world, typically depends on individual talent to propel them forward in the competitions it enters. 

But the time they played to MSP, Mikey Williams and Jeremiah Gray, two of its players, didn’t have a problem with it. 

“We engaged in open gym playback at home. Being around him when he represents the nation is pretty great, said Gray, a California native like Williams. “He controls the pace and is a tremendously talented player.

Many people may not know, but Williams and Gray actually  go way back.  The two have competed against one other or played together in many California pick-up leagues during their formative years. 

After spending two years at Dominican University of California, Gray made the decision to return home early this year. Williams, who last year played for the Saigon Heat in the ABL, made the same decision and joined MPBL team General Santos City Warriors.

 “The thought-process in this was to get as much basketball as I could. Gen San and then they gave me an opportunity to represent the country with Mighty Sports,” Williams recounts.

The LA  pair directed the Jones Cup-bound team’s fourth-quarter rally, which helped Mighty Sports build a late six-point advantage. Gilas, however, managed to tie things up to complete the exhibition tied at 85 all as they closed out the friendly. 

When the Jones Cup rolls around, the two aim to do more than just project a positive image of themselves. Williams and Gray both promise to help the nation win its sixth Cup. 

“It’s just a great honor man. I never thought I’d be here, never thought that basketball would take me this far. But it’s good to tap with my other half,” said Williams.

Now with TNT, much more chemistry with current team mates is expected from Williams as he faces new rivals, and former teammates.

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