Vintage Kelly Williams powers TNT to 3-2 PBA PHL Cup Finals lead

Kelly Williams’ relentless attack on June Mar Fajardo off the dribble paid dividends for TNT. (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Just like what they say, experience is everything.

In a pivotal Game 5 where the TNT Tropang Giga needed a crucial win to move closer to another PBA Philippine Cup championship title, the ever-reliable Kelly Williams put up a vintage performance to take down the San Miguel Beermen, 102-93, and clinched a 3-2 finals series lead.

Williams showed flashes of his PBA All-Star self when he was still an athletic freak playing for the Santa Lucia Realtors several years ago.

His explosion was also a part of the Tropang Giga’s adjustments on how to put San Miguel’s six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo in several defensive lapses.

The oldest player inside the court at the age of 40 years old capitalized on his speed and quickness advantage against Fajardo and attacked the towering center off the dribble.

Every time Williams caught the ball from the three-point line, the Tropang Giga’s coaching staff called for an automatic isolation play when Fajardo is guarding him and ordered him to penetrate with speed.

Williams ended Game 5 with a conference-high 21 points, nine rebounds, and two steals including a stellar 4/6 shooting from the three-point range.

San Miguel looked to break the game wide open after immediately taking the lead in the first quarter but the collective effort coming from the TNT gunners helped them weather the storm and regain the lead.

Mikey Williams was again a beast on the offensive end and provided several key buckets to extend their lead and finished with 23 big points.

Williams carried TNT’s offensive load after superstar point guard Jayson Castro injured his ankle late in the third quarter and failed to return in the final quarter of the game.

The Beermen showed one last fight after trimming TNT’s 11-point lead during the last three minutes of the final canto to just four points, 91-95, off consecutive made points from Moala Tautuaa and Jericho Cruz.

However, Williams answered back for the Tropang Giga and capped off his big night with a cold-blooded triple that extended TNT’s lead to nine points, 100-91.

San Miguel will look to force a do-or-die Game 7 when they meet each other again today at 5:45 PM to be held at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.