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Chot Reyes proud of TNT’s frontline for stepping up for Kelly Williams

TNT head coach Chot Reyes lauded the extra effort of his wards to make Kelly Williams’ absence easier to deal with in Game One of their 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup semifinal battle versus rivals San Miguel Beer, Sunday.

The 39-year-old forward underwent the league’s health and safety protocols. He could possibly miss their next games this coming week.

But even without their starting center, the Tropang Giga managed to take an 89-88 squeaker to take the early lead in the best-of-seven series.

2021-pba-philippine-cup-tnt-vs-magnolia-kelly-williams Chot Reyes proud of TNT's frontline for stepping up for Kelly Williams Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

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“The first thing we said is that there’s no one person who can fill the shoes of Kelly Williams,” said the decorated mentor after the game at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor. “Those are such big shoes. But every guy does a little bit extra.”

Roger Pogoy was among those who earned praise from Reyes. Though he led TNT’s offense with 23 points, his mentor credited his efforts in the rebounding department and interior defense.

2021-PBA-Philippine-Cup-Semis-Game-One-TNT-vs-San-Miguel-Roger-Pogoy Chot Reyes proud of TNT's frontline for stepping up for Kelly Williams Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

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The Cebuano cager also made the biggest stop of the game. He prevented Marcio Lassiter from nailing a potential game-winner in the final seconds.

“Roger did a little bit extra on rebounding and defending inside,” he said as the fifth-year guard had three boards, two assists, and two steals.

Williams shared his workload with his fellow frontcourt players such as Poy Erram, Troy Rosario, and bruiser Dave Marcelo.

2021-PBA-Philippine-Cup-Semis-Game-One-TNT-vs-San-Miguel-Mo-Tautuaa-vs-Dave-Marcelo Chot Reyes proud of TNT's frontline for stepping up for Kelly Williams Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

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Erram was hounded by foul trouble with five fouls but was still effective. He had 15 points and five rebounds, to go along with an assist, a steal, and a block each. His partner Rosario supplied 14 markers and four boards.

#ReadMore  June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter watch on as Gilas resumes practice

Marcelo, meanwhile, only had three points and even fouled out with 4:42 left to play. But he had three of his team’s five blocks and played for nearly 21 minutes as he did what he could to make it tougher for June Mar Fajardo.

“And then, of course, the bulk falls on Poy Erram, Dave Marcelo, and Troy. It was a hell of an effort,” Reyes said.

The Beermen star still had 13 points and 11 rebounds, though he committed six of his side’s 23 turnovers –13 in the first half alone.

Reyes, though, insisted that the Texters have not – and may never will – solve a problem as huge as Fajardo. Still, he feels happy that his big men do their best in defending the league’s reigning six-time MVP.

“No, not at all. You can never solve a problem like June Mar. The best we can do is just to limit,” said the outspoken bench tactician, who mentored the 6-foot-10 slotman during his time as Gilas Pilipinas head coach.

“It was a superhuman effort by our bigs without our starting big man to just stay with June Mar.”

Written By

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

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