RIZAL, Philippines – Mikey Williams’ off-the-bench gig is merely temporary.
TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa said Williams will eventually reclaim his starting spot, especially after his all-around outing fueled a 105-100 comeback win over Rain or Shine in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday, January 27.
Williams finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists, capping his impressive performance with a clutch three-pointer with 30 seconds left that sealed the victory for the Tropang Giga.
“Mikey is eventually going to go back to the starting lineup,” said Lastimosa. “He already started the second half. It is going to be like that. That is his spot.”
“Now that we can see that he is already close to his normal self, you can see more of him of course.”
The reigning PBA scoring champion started 59 out of the 65 games he played for TNT going into the Governors’ Cup.
So it came as a surprise when Williams came off the bench in their conference-opening 123-119 win over Phoenix, where he produced just 9 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals in over 27 minutes of play.
Just a few months ago, Lastimosa, who concurrently serves as the Tropang Giga team manager, cracked the whip on Williams by suspending the Filipino-American guard last conference when he repeatedly skipped practices.
During that mess, Lastimosa said the First Mythical Team member was “acting like he is on another level.”
But Lastimosa clarified the team simply did not want to rush Williams as he continues to recover from a leg injury he sustained earlier this season.
Lastimosa even gave Williams a pat on the back before the post-game presser.
“There is a reason why he was coming off the bench at the beginning – because he was not in shape yet. Not yet. He was trying to get back in shape. He had a really difficult time rehabbing his two Achilles heels,” Lastimosa said.
Williams, for his part, said he is slowly but surely regaining his top form.
“I’m just trying to gradually get it back right each and every day, just trying to do everything I can to make sure it is strengthened.” – Rappler.com
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