Jolas assures Williams will regain starting spot – The Manila Times
TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa is not in a hurry to thrust Fil-American guard Mikey Williams back into the starting role just two games into the PBA Governors’ Cup.
For one, the 6-foot-2 standout from Cal State Fullerton is still recovering from injuries in order to his Achilles heels, which he sustained in this season’s Philippine Mug Finals.
“There’s a reason why he was coming off the bench at the beginning. He wasn’t in shape. Not yet. He really had a difficult time rehabbing his two Achilles heels. Mikey is eventually going back to the beginning line-up, ” said Lastimosa, moments after TNT completed its comeback from a double-digit deficit to beat Rain or Shine on Friday, 105-100.
But the 31-year-old former PBA Rookie of the Year managed to flaunt his old, deadly self against ROS despite coming off the bench, firing 24 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and issuing seven assists in more than 39 minutes of action.
Williams in fact , punctuated his near triple-double effort with a three-point shot late in the game to seal TNT’s second win in as many starts.
The sweet-shooting guard’s huge performance easily erased their nine-point output in the Tropang Giga’s 123-119 victory over the Phoenix Fuel Masters last Wednesday. That game saw Williams shoot just three-of-12 in an off-the-bench role.
However , Lastimosa believes the 2021 Philippine Glass Finals MVP will restore his fiery form at the right time. The game, he said against ROS, has been somehow a foretaste of things to come for Williams.
“You can see that he already started in the second half. Eventually, it’s going to be like that. That’s his spot, inch shared the particular soft-spoken TNT mentor, who is taking Chot Reyes’ spot for now as the latter devotes his attention full time at Gilas.
“Now, we can see that he is already close to his normal self. You can see more of him, of course. ”
And while PBA fans know Williams as a prolific scoring guard, Lastimosa will be reminding everyone that the Fil-American is that type of player, who can really play solid defense as well.
“The best I’ve seen in how many times, and the few months I’ve been here, ” Lastimosa said, within noting Williams’ defensive effort versus ROS.
“That’s what we demand from Mikey. He is not only an offensive player. If this individual wants to be a very good defensive player, he can do it. He has the tools. It’s not only the scoring but Mikey defended really well tonight, inch he added.
For now, Williams will take things one step at a time, knowing the season-ending conference is a marathon not a sprint.
“We know it’s a long season. I just have to gradually find my rhythm throughout the online games. It’s only Game Two. Game Three on Wednesday and that’s where I’m shifting my focus, ” said Williams.
TNT takes a five-day break before swinging back to action next Wednesday towards sister team NLEX.