Mikey-come-lately, but he’s no new kid in town


MIKEY WILLIAMS is not your usual Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) rookie.

He turned 30 while the TNT Tropang Giga played and won Game 4 last Wednesday of their successful Philippine Cup campaign against the Magnolia Hotshots.

He plied his trade with the Saigon Heat in the Asean Basketball League from 2017 to 2018 and with the General Santos City Warriors in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League in 2019.

Before that, the 6-foot-2 spitfire guard Williams moved a stairway away from the National Basketball Association by playing 39 games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce (2014-15) and Canton Charge (2016-18) in the G League—a remarkable stint that makes every basketball players résumé sparkle.

In the Finals that TNT won in five gave, Williams was definitely no rookie, he played like a well-oiled veteran and emerged MVP of the series with explosive averages of 27.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

Williams also racked up fiery numbers of 18.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists to lead TNT to a remarkable 10-1 record in the eliminations.

So he’s no alien to basketball, specifically the PBA where he waited five years to be drafted.

“A lot of my friends have been playing in the PBA [before], but it took me five years to get my papers fixed,” Williams said. “I got drafted in the PBA D-League [2015]…never got to play—that was the year I truly got introduced.”

Among those who keep Williams on tab are pals Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot of San Miguel Beer, Frankie Johnson of Rain or Shine, Robbie Herndon of Alaska, Joshua Munzon of Terrafirma, Nick Demusis of Phoenix and Jamie Malonzo of Northport, all his fellow Filipino-Americans.

Williams’s role at TNT, according to Reyes, was to fill up the scoring slack left by Bobby Ray Parks Jr., how with the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins in the Japanese league.

“It’s very special being my first conference in the PBA. We worked hard and got the job done,” Williams said. “Still surreal, I’m going to continue to put in the work to be better each and every day at the next conference.”

“My plan is to take care of my body and get back to work,” he said. “My relationship with coach Chot is still formulating but we have built a good understanding for each another. Definitely, he’s a good mentor and great leader.”

He was drafted sixth overall in the 2015 by the Mindanao Aguilas for the PBA D-League but didn’t get to play because of citizenship issues—he got his Philippine passport only in 2019 but was stalled in Los Angeles because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Williams’s father Kurtiz Williams hails from Eastwood and North Hollywood, California while his mother, the former Angelica Baldo, was born in Naga City.

Senator Manny Pacquiao owns the distinction of being the oldest rookie in the PBA at 35 years, 10 months and two days, having played and coached with Kia in 2014 season. Maurice Shaw was next also at 35 when he was drafted by Blackwater last season.

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