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Jolas, Mikey Williams settling difference leads to good things for TNT

It took a bit more time for Jojo Lastimosa and Mikey Williams to settle their differences, but as the old saying goes, all’s well that ends well.

From having “bad animosity” towards one another, the two saw the sweet culmination of the relationship they had built as TNT ended Ginebra’s reign to emerge as the ruler of the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday night.

The league’s reigning scoring king was on the forefront of the triumph with 38 points on nine three-pointers. That earned him the PBA Press Corps Finals MVP honors, and left his head coach beaming with pride.

“Mikey has come a long way,” said the cage legend during the postgame presser at the Willie Caballes Press Hall of the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

It was only in the last Commissioner’s Cup that Lastimosa expressed his frustration towards Williams for missing practices and activities without prior notice, which ultimately led to the team suspending him for a week without pay.

At that time, Lastimosa was serving as the team manager of the Tropa, a role he assumed in June of last year, which saw him take over the club’s contract negotiations with Williams as his first order of business.

PBA-Season-47-TNT-Mikey-Williams-x-Jojo-Lastimosa Jolas, Mikey Williams settling difference leads to good things for TNT Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

“We had some rough patches when we were negotiating with him — that’s what happens during negotiations,” said the former NLEX assistant coach. “I was dealing with him directly, not with the agent. That’s what made it difficult.”

However, they polished those rough patches, and it all began with better communication, especially when Lastimosa was named as head coach. “There was really some bad animosity between the two of us. And we were able to talk about it. I met him on some occasions for conversations and to make him understand how I coach when I started coaching,” he said.

“You can see in the game that sometimes Mikey gets mad at my substitutions, he doesn’t want to come out, things like that. It’s okay for me when players get angry because I was the same way. I didn’t want to come out. Eventually, I have to explain.”

That’s because Lastimosa himself wanted to be different from some of his former mentors when it came to explaining matters to players. “One thing I wanted to do differently is if I do something to the patterns, I need to explain to them, I need to communicate. Before, usually coaches don’t explain to players why they are being pulled out of the game. We have to explain to them because for me, I need the same way [when] I was playing — ‘Just let me know, okay?'” Lastimosa added.

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He even recalled some of the times he clashed with former mentor Tim Cone, whom he just beat for the crown, to explain his point. “Tim and I used to argue before the Finals. We shouted at each other many times outside the locker room because there were things I wanted to happen, and he didn’t explain them to me. You just need to explain to me.

“Even our 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, we had a disagreement — I guess you know about that. The thing is, I’ve learned from that.

“As a coach, you just need communication with the players. And the players will understand. They will always understand,” he added.

Williams, for his part, eventually understood Lastimosa, and they’re now enjoying a much better player-coach connection.

“I just started leaving it up to him, trying to be quiet the best I could, and things just started taking off from there,” said the 31-year-old former G Leaguer. “He just started to let me be, and I started understanding his coaching style as well.”

The 2023 PBA Governors Cup Finals is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

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

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