MANILA, Philippines -- TNT veteran Kelly Williams is confident that he can contribute to the Tropang GIGA as they seek to end a long title drought in the upcoming PBA season.
Williams, a former PBA Most Valuable Player, announced his retirement in September 2020 and missed TNT's campaign in the PBA Philippine Cup, held in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga. However, he made an about face in March, signing a fresh two-year deal with the team.
The veteran later explained that Chot Reyes' return as head coach of TNT had a lot to do with his decision to return. Reyes in February was appointed as head coach of the Tropang GIGA again, nearly a decade since he left the franchise to focus on the national team.
Now that he's back in the fold, Williams is looking forward to playing a bigger role for the team.
"For the last several years… I've really only been used for like maybe 50% of my actual playing abilities and stuff like that," Williams said in an interview with former PBA commissioner Noli Eala on "Power and Play."
Not only did Williams not play in the 2020 season, he was also sparingly used by TNT in 2019. Williams played in just 25 games in 2019, making nine starts. In the PBA Governors' Cup, he played just eight games, averaging a little over 12 minutes per contest.
"(This) was kind of a blessing because I didn't put much mileage on my body, and I was able to build. And with the building and the changing my body, that only helps," he said. "That's why I've been so confident in saying, 'Yeah I can play for the next several years.' Because I've only been used at 50% capacity, and I revamped my body over the years."
"But yeah, I'm looking forward to playing now. There's a lot left in the tank, there's a lot of desire," he added.
Williams is especially excited to once again play in Reyes' system. With him in charge, TNT won four titles.
"I told Chot in our first meeting… this is the first time in a long time I've been excited about basketball. It's a different kind of feeling, it's a fresh feeling," said the veteran forward. "I'm just looking forward to being out there with my guys, being out there with Chot, being able to play fully, and see what happens."
Williams has high hopes for the Tropang GIGA after a solid 2020 campaign where they made it to the finals of the All-Filipino Cup. The team has had an eventful season, with star swingman Ray Parks Jr. opting to take a sabbatical, but they still have an impressive lineup bolstered by the addition of rookie guard Mikey Williams.
The veteran Williams is always ready to be a leader and share his experience with their younger players, and he also looks forward to seeing their development.
"These young guys are really good," he said. "The team, in general, is just really good."
"Looking at the team right now, there are no egos, guys really wanna work. Guys wanna learn, and guys wanna be there. So, I think when you have that sort of environment, atmosphere on a team, you can really do anything," he added. "So, I'm excited."