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Duels with June Mar Fajardo bring out best in Kelly Williams

Feb 20, 2023

NOT BACKING DOWN. Kelly Williams takes on the challenge of going toe-to-toe with June Mar Fajardo.

PBA Images

At 41, Kelly Williams continues to perform at a high level in the PBA, particularly when up against six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo

MANILA, Philippines – It is probably not a coincidence that Kelly Williams’ finest offensive performances in the PBA come against San Miguel.

The TNT veteran said he makes sure to be at his best when facing June Mar Fajardo, recording a conference-high 16 points as the Tropang Giga edged the Beermen for solo No. 1 in the Governors’ Cup on Sunday, February 19.

Williams scattered 11 points in the second half and outscored the six-time MVP, who finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds, in the thrilling 105-103 win that hiked their record to 8-1.

“I think with any player, when you play against the greats, the night before, you already have to start getting your mind right,” said the 41-year-old big man.

“Obviously, June Mar is – if not the greatest – one of the greatest to have played here. Definitely one of my hardest challenges.”

Williams has made it a habit to put his best foot forward when going up against Fajardo.

His season-high of 21 points to go with 9 rebounds and 2 steals also came against Fajardo and San Miguel in Game 5 of the Philippine Cup finals as TNT grabbed a 3-2 series lead.

The Tropang Giga, though, went on to lose the best-of-seven duel 4-3.

Williams’ next two highest scoring marks of 20 and 18 points were accomplished against the Beermen as well.

“Kelly, when it is June Mar, he forgets that he is 41. He thinks that he is 21 years old. I love that,” said TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa.

“I love the competitiveness of Kelly when it is June Mar. It is going to be like that. We’re going to need Kelly in the playoffs, so as the rest of the other guys.”

Williams said duels with Fajardo give him additional motivation.

“I make sure I get extra rest and I get a good meal, calm my mind, and get ready for war. I think that is any player, any player who knows,” said Williams.

“We’re at the top, every team that played against us brought their A-game. It is the same for individuals.” – Rappler.com

June Mar Fajardo rises to rebounding challenge, joins elite PBA club

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