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After facing Ross, Mikey Williams braces for Barroca, Jalalon

Mikey Williams knows that he will have to solve yet another defensive puzzle as TNT faces Magnolia in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

After going through Chris Ross and San Miguel Beer in the semis, the fourth overall pick will now be tested by the tandem of Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon in the best-of-seven titular bout that tips off this Wednesday.

“I know it’s gonna be another challenge,” he said in a virtual press conference hosted by the league a day before the series opener.

“They’re both very really good defenders; they put a lot of pressure on teams.”

The former NBA G-League veteran previously said that Ross, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, has given him lots of trouble.

That was evident in their first meeting in the elimination round. With the 36-year-old hounding him, Williams shot just 3-of-13 from the field for seven points. Meanwhile, the Tropang Giga absorbed a 67-83 defeat – the one in their 10-1 record.

Ross continued to be a problem for the 29-year-old in the semis. He only shot 32-percent in the series – a far cry from the 50.6-percent he had in the eliminations. Still, he was able to find his way through late.

In Game Seven, Williams poured 20 points on 38.1-percent shooting, on top of eight rebounds and six assists to help his side to the 97-79 victory.

Besides Ross, the Fil-Am guard also mentioned the tandem of Barroca and Jalalon as other tough defenders he has faced so far.

TNT was actually able to overcome the Hotshots in their eliminations clash through an 83-76 decision. Williams also fared much better than against SMB as he had 14 markers, but only made five of his 15 field goal attempts.

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The former ABL Heritage Import is bracing for what awaits him and the Tropa once they go to war against the defense-oriented crew.

“It’s just tryna manage and figure out ways to beat their press ’cause I know they’re gonna be really pesky and really up in our face,” he said. “If we manage to control that and figure out ways to neutralize that I think we’ll be fine.”

Nonetheless, Williams is very much looking forward to playing in his first Finals experience in just his maiden conference in the league.

“This is gonna be my first experience in the Finals as well so I’m just looking forward to it with my team,” he said.

“We put a lot of work, a lot of preparation in. It’s gonna be an experience. Definitely excited to get started.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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