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TNT head coach Chot Reyes could only hope that Kelly Williams did not suffer a major injury after the veteran big man left Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals on a stretcher.
Williams had to be stretchered out of the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga at the end of their 88-70 blowout win over Magnolia on Wednesday, October 20, due to “extreme back spasms.”
“Very concerned. You already know, we don’t even have to belabor how important Kelly is in this team, right? We already know his value,” Reyes said in the post-game presser.
“[T]hat’s our main concern moving forward in this series – we hope Kelly is healthy enough to play.”
Williams played a pivotal role in the Game 1 rout as he churned out 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in another starting role.
He delivered 5 points in their 20-2 start and scored his other 5 points in a third-quarter surge where Tropang Giga led by as big as 32 points.
With TNT comfortably ahead, Williams subbed out with less than 6 minutes in the third quarter and never returned.
The Tropang Giga could not afford to lose Williams at the most critical juncture of the conference as he already missed four games in the playoffs after being placed under health and safety protocols.
During that stretch without Williams, TNT split the first four games of the semifinals against San Miguel.
In his first four games since his return, Williams averaged 9.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.3 steals.
The Tropang Giga shoot for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven affair as they meet the Hotshots again on Friday, October 22. – Rappler.com