Plucked out of retirement last year, Kelly Williams believes the comeback was all worth it.
A championship last year and a chance to repeat this season, the 40-year-old former MVP is relishing the opportunity of becoming a part of TNT's successful journey since Chot Reyes returned from the coaching scene and took over the team's basketball program.
"I've said it before, if it wasn't for Chot, I'll be in US right now. But personally, if I didn't think about this opportunity or I didn't think this would be possible, I wouldn't be able to come back," Williams told ABS-CBN News in an exclusive interview.
Last season, Williams was among those included in the All-Defensive Team, the first time in PBA history that the squad had two 40-plus players in the roster.
This time, Williams had another chance of adding another one to his continuing growing list of achievements as the Tropang Giga defend their all-Filipino crown against the powerhouse San Miguel Beermen.
"People asked me about playing, this and that, if I didn't think I could contribute at this level, I wouldn't come back," added Williams, who had kept himself in tip-top condition to be able to make a key contribution to the Tropang Giga's title retention bid.
Over the stretch of three conferences, TNT had been able to make it to the championship round.
The team was also in a better position to make it all the way in the Governors' Cup last season, but the Tropang Giga, who was then carrying a twice-to-beat advantage, lost to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings twice in a row as the league's most popular team went all the way to win the title.
But Williams is happy where the team is now.
"I'm not surprised that we're here. Chot is Chot. The type of coach that he is and now we have this opportunity. So, we're here again, and I'm looking forward to getting this thing going," said Williams.
In facing San Miguel, Williams will need all those strength and muscles in holding his own against the league's most dominant force – six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, who is a man on a mission on trying to regain San Miguel's winning legacy.
"I'm looking forward to playing against San Miguel and the GOAT (Fajardo). These are opportunities that I would look back five, 10 years from now," he added.
Williams is likewise embracing more challenges, especially when Reyes takes a leave in two of their games in the finals because if his commitment with the Gilas Pilipinas team and the veteran center/forward is ready.
"I think on paper, it's more of a challenge, but coach had done a great job with delegating to his assistant caches and also delegating some responsibilities to us players and as a team. We're fine. We know that we'll be fine. We had to deal with adversities. I think that's one of our strengths. We have just to learn to adjust and adapt, but we're ready," added Williams.