'Pretty ridiculous' vintage performance from Kelly Williams draws TNT near PBA PH Cup title defense

At age 40, Kelly Williams still showed he's dependable in crunch time. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--With Jayson Castro hurt in the third quarter of Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, TNT was in need of a huge boost to maintain control of the game.

The team found it in the endgame from Kelly Williams.

Williams shot a booming triple with 1:08 left in the match that turned out to be a dagger for the Tropang Giga to take down the San Miguel Beermen for the crucial 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

[Related Story: TNT holds off SMB's Q4 push to close in on PBA PH Cup title]

To think about it, the high-flying forward could have been retired already.

Williams first announced that he is leaving the PBA on Sept. 7, 2020, just before the league concluded its season then inside a bubble in Angeles.

However, six months later, he deferred his initial decision and re-signed with TNT, just when Chot Reyes was announced to be returning as head coach.

And here we are: a 40-year-old Kelly Williams turning back time with a vintage performance where he matched his career-high in threes made in a game.

His game-sealing trey was his fourth in the match, the third time he did so but his first after four years.

He finished the game with 21 points, the most in a playoff game since 2017.

"It's pretty ridiculous, right?" Williams said after the clash.

The secret to putting up a vintage performance like this, according to the six-foot-seven big guy, is keeping the faith that he can still pull it off despite his age.

"For myself personally, I wouldn't have come back if I didn't believe I could be in this position again," Williams further said.

He then lauded the rest of the Tropang Giga for the help in keeping him in game mode.

"We've got a great circuit of guys, our coaching staff, and our organization," Williams continued. "The support and unity there, for me, have been unmatched. I'm just grateful to be here."

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