It’s war in PBA
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - May 31, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - San Miguel Beer import Reggie Williams said the other day he’s looking forward to making a comeback in the NBA and the experience of playing in the PBA will go a long way in realizing his ultimate goal.

Williams, 27, has played for Golden State, Charlotte and Oklahoma City in five NBA seasons, earning a total of about $6.8 Million. This year, he was signed to two non-consecutive 10-day contracts by the Thunder. If Williams had a choice, he’d like to take another shot at playing alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

“I’m familiar with the system at OKC,” said Williams. “I enjoyed playing with the Thunder. I basically played one and two guard. Nobody really took me under his wing. Actually, I’m older than KD and Russ. But you can only improve playing with guards like Russ, Derek Fisher, Thabo Sefolosha and Reggie Jackson. It’s their passion for the game. You look at Russ’ game face, you can see how determined he is to win, you can see from his emotions whether he’s disappointed or happy with the way he’s playing. Coach Scott Brooks gives you confidence to play. With Oklahoma City, it’s a winning situation. I had a great experience with Golden State and Charlotte, too.”

If the trend in Williams’ career holds, he’ll be back in the NBA after the PBA. In previous years, he went from the French league to Golden State and from the Spanish league to Charlotte and later Oklahoma City. Williams inked a two-year $5.1 Million contract with Michael Jordan’s Charlotte franchise.

If there’s anything he can bring to the NBA from the PBA, it’s composure. “It’s a war out there,” said Williams. “You don’t know if the refs will make a call or not and you just have to play it through.”

Williams said his two favorite all-time players are Jalen Rose, who’s a lefthander like him, and Penny Hardaway. In the NBA playoffs, he’s cheering for his former team Oklahoma City.

It’s a little-known fact that Williams was in Manila last year with the Houston Rockets for a pre-season game against the Indiana Pacers at the Mall of Asia Arena. Williams was in the Rockets’ 17-man lineup but coach Kevin McHale kept him on the bench in the 116-96 win over the Pacers. He was cut before the season started.

Williams led the US NCAA in scoring twice, averaging 28.1 points in 2006-07 and 27.8 in 2007-08. He hit at a 22.8 clip in four years with the Virginia Military Institute varsity. Williams thought of joining the NBA draft before his senior season but apparently, his application never reached the league. He went on to finish his varsity eligibility and earned a degree in psychology.

Three former PBA imports Freeman Williams, Harry (Machine Gun) and Larry Fogle also led the NCAA in scoring. Pete Maravich, Rick Barry, Steph Curry and Oscar Robertson were other point leaders.

Williams averaged 15.2 points for Golden State in 2009-10. He was particularly explosive against New Orleans, once torching the Hornets, now known as the Pelicans, for 28 points in 34 minutes and in another game, hit 18 of his 22 points in a fourth period eruption. Williams has always been known as a sweet shooter with range extending beyond the arc.

San Miguel Beer is Williams’ third overseas team after Dijon in France and Caja Laboral in Spain. San Miguel team manager Gee Abanilla described Williams as “highly-skilled” and “a great guy.”

In the PBA, Williams is averaging 33.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 46.5 minutes. He’s hitting 55.9 percent from three-point distance and 50.5 percent overall from the floor. Against Barako Bull in Binan last Wednesday, Williams buried back-to-back triples in overtime to lift San Miguel to a 115-112 win. He finished with 33 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in 53 minutes. Williams played it cool throughout the close contest, picking his spots and connecting at a high rate of 65 percent while contributing his share to rack up San Miguel’s 31 dimes.

San Miguel has now won three in a row since starting the Governors Cup with a 94-87 loss to Alaska. Tonight, the Beermen face Talk ‘N’ Text at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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