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Victolero, Lee blown away by ‘NBA-caliber’ Mikey Williams


Mikey Williams played so well in Game Three of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Sunday that his opponents couldn’t help but give him props.

Though his TNT absorbed a 98-16 defeat to Magnolia, the super rookie definitely had himself a night to remember by turning in a historic performance.

The fourth overall pick erupted for 39 points, the highest output in a Finals game by a rookie since Eric Menk had 42 in Game Three of the 1999 All-Filipino title series for Tanduay, per league stats chief Fidel Mangonon III.

Most of his points came from deep as he buried 10 triples. He now owns the record for most treys in a Finals match, eclipsing the nine of Jayson Castro in Game Two of the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup titular bout versus Rain or Shine.

“We just try to limit Mikey Williams. But tingin ko, na-limit namin e, 40 points lang ata nai-score niya,” quipped Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero.

Turning serious, the champion mentor tipped his hat to the former NBA G-League veteran, admitting that it’s really been tough to contain the latter.

Well, there even came a point in the match that Williams was being picked up by much taller Rafi Reavis in an attempt to cool him down.

“I think alam naman natin, very good e. He’s NBA caliber,” he said.

“I think he played in the D-League so ‘yung bata naman talaga, nakita naman natin talagang kahit anong ilagay namin eh, ii-score — he loves to score.

“Any scheme talagang nagagawan niya ng paraan,” Victolero furthered as Williams shot 56-percent from the field all in all.

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Even star guard Paul Lee was blown away by the Fil-Am gunner, who averaged 24.5 points on 51.4-percent shooting in the series’ first two games.

“Sobrang talented talaga ni Mikey,” said the former BPC.

“Parang nabuhay siya para umi-score talaga eh. Ganoon talaga kagaling si Mikey.”

While he acknowledges that it is nearly impossible to totally shut down Williams, Victolero and Co. aim to limit his point production in whatever way they can moving forward in the best-of-seven affair, in which they still trail 1-2.

“We just try to maintain ‘yung aming defensive scheme, and I think naging effective naman because we won the game. But of course, ‘di mo na ma-stop yun eh. I think ma-limit lang namin, siguro under 50 points,” he said jokingly.

“But we’ll try our best,” added the former Coach of the Year. “Kita naman natin how we deny — we put a small guy, we put Rome [Dela Rosa], we put Calvin [Abueva], and then ‘yung huli na, si Rafi na. But it’s team defense.”

Written By

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

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