TNT praying for the best as Kelly Williams suffers back injury

Published October 20, 2021, 9:53 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from PBA

TNT is fearing the worst after Kelly Williams hurt his back during the second half of its 88-70 victory over Magnolia Pambansang Manok in Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

The veteran cager left the opener of the best-of-seven series after getting hurt while going for a breakaway dunk with 5:21 left in the third quarter of the match held at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.

A video provided by the PBA on its social media accounts showed Williams being brought to the hospital on a stretcher which raised more doubt if he can be available in full strength for at least Game 2 on Friday, Oct. 22.

“He might have strained his back in that play when he tried to go up for the dunk. And he can hardly walk,” Tropang Giga coach Chot Reyes said. “I hope it gets better but it doesn’t look too good now.”

Williams has made a big impact in TNT’s run to the Finals, particularly during the team’s last two victories in the semifinal series against San Miguel Beer. He had missed the first four games of that matchup after being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols.

He carried that semis showing into the championship round opener, posting 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal before getting hurt.

“I’m very concerned,” Reyes said. “We don’t even have to belabor how important Kelly is in this team, right? We already know his value.

“That’s our main concern moving forward in this series. We hope Kelly is healthy enough to play,” he added.