MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Former PBA Most Valuable Player Kelly Williams has announced that he is retiring from basketball.
Williams, 38, said on his social media accounts that he is announcing his retirement "with gladness and sadness."
"I could not have predicted that I'd have the kind of career I was able to experience," he said.
Williams expressed his gratitude to the Philippines, saying it gave him "a solid ground to grow as both a player and a man for the last 15 years."
"Thank you PBA for giving me access to your stage for 14 seasons and to the great fans who supported me during my time. I gave my all when I put Pilipinas and my teams on my chest and I hope you felt that," he added.
He also thanked his teams, Sta. Lucia and TNT, and thanked basketball "for being a safe haven to a young lost kid and bringing meaning to my life every year since 1991."
The Filipino-American forward was the No. 1 overall pick of Sta. Lucia in the 2006 PBA Rookie Draft. He went on to win Rookie of the Year honors, and helped the Realtors win the 2007 All-Filipino crown.
He was the PBA's MVP in 2008, and in 2010, he was traded to the Talk 'N Text franchise. There, Williams won five more championships.
In 2009, Williams was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder known as thrombocytopenic purpura that briefly halted his career. After his successful return in 2010, Williams won the first of two Comeback Player of the Year awards.
His announcement was greeted by messages of congratulation by his peers and coaches.
"Congratulations, Kelly," said Chot Reyes, the former Gilas Pilipinas coach. "Our road has not been smooth, but we always looked out for each other."
Former Gilas captain Jimmy Alapag congratulated Williams "on an incredible career." "Thankful we had a chance to go to battle together, in the PBA and the national team. Picked up some rings along the way too," he added.
Meralco forward Chris Newsome thanked Williams for paving the way.
"Nothing but respect for you," he said. "You inspired me more than you know, OG."