PBA Governors' Cup

Lastimosa, TNT expecting the worst as Kelly Williams suffers injury in playoffs opener

Delfin Dioquino

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Lastimosa, TNT expecting the worst as Kelly Williams suffers injury in playoffs opener

HURT. Kelly Williams goes down with an injury.

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TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa anticipates the possibility of Kelly Williams missing the rest of the PBA Governors' Cup playoffs

MANILA, Philippines – TNT is bracing for the worst as head coach Jojo Lastimosa does not discount the possibility of Tropang Giga veteran Kelly Williams missing the rest of the PBA Governors’ Cup.

Lastimosa said Williams sustained a pulled calf in the first quarter of their 132-105 blowout of Phoenix on Wednesday, March 22, that propelled TNT to the semifinals.

“[T]hat does not go away very quickly. We’re expecting the worst in Kelly,” said Lastimosa.

A consistent starter, Williams played a huge role as the Tropang Giga ended the elimination round as the top seed with a 10-1 record.

The 41-year-old big man averaged 8.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 26 minutes in the elimination round.

He started anew against the Fuel Masters before he got hurt with under a minute left in the opening period and never returned, finishing with 2 points and 1 rebound in seven minutes.

But Lastimosa said he is not worried about the center position previously occupied by Williams, especially with the timely return of Poy Erram.

Missing the entire elimination round after undergoing knee surgery in January, Erram turned in 6 points and 3 rebounds in five minutes in his first appearance of the conference.

Lastimosa admitted he initially did not want to play Erram, worrying that the gangly big man is still not in game shape but eventually budged after some prodding from senior consultant and former head coach Chot Reyes.

“Chot pushed for him in the last five minutes because we might need him down in the playoffs, because now knowing Kelly, he might have a season-ending injury,” said Lastimosa.

“Poy is needed there in that lineup so I was happy about the outcome.”

TNT will face either Magnolia or Meralco in a best-of-five semifinals duel starting later this week. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.