Loss of Williams is a Big Blow

On: 12 May 2009

K-Will guarding an import.

On paper, the Sta. Lucia Realtors can be considered a contender in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Motolite Fiesta Conference. However, the odds are not good for a simple reason. It is going to be near-impossible to guard the opponent’s imports with Kelly Williams, a marquee player, probably out for the rest of the season due to low platelet count on his blood.

The team cannot have Anthony Johnson play defense effectively and also carry the offensive burden on the other end. Marlou Aquino and Dennis Espino may be able to masterfully contain the imports on both ends for one game, but not in a series where adjustments can easily be made.

After Williams, a current national player, immediately flew back to Manila from Negros Occidental during the All-Star festival for the treatment, the Realtors went 0-3. Losing three in a row this conference is the longest streak for this team so far this year and it showed where the Realtors are headed, early vacation. That is, of course, unless Williams comes back.

If any of the current team in the league loses to a Williams-less Realtors team, it would rank among the biggest chokes ever. Williams, the Most Valuable Player in the professional league during the 2007-2008 season, averages 13.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 39.22 minutes on the floor in his last 9 games. He is also the most agile and athletic player that the team can afford to put in charge of stifling the offensive numbers of the opposing import.

The Realtors management controlled the information about the Williams situation as masterfully as a anything anybody has seen in professional basketball in the country. For two solid weeks, they had everyone (fans, media members, experts paid to objectively cover this stuff) convinced that the man was coming back. They are actually doing the right thing and pretending that he just needs rest and everything is fine and he will be back in the quarterfinals and don't worry and nothing to see here.

"Kelly’s platelet count is too low and we are resting him to prevent him from bleeding and let his platelet go up, then he’ll be back playing," said Realtor’s coach Boyet Fernandez.

This could be THE biggest subplot heading into the last playing days of the elimination round. Williams is not fine.

Why fib the truth? Because it is a smart move. The coaching staff do not the opponents thinking, "We are going to run the Realtors over." They also do not want their best offensive players (Johnson, Jospeh Yeo and Ryan Reyes) thinking, "We are screwed", and they do not want their aging bigs (Aquino and Espino) to be thinking, "The burden has shifted to me, I need to come through!" They played it the right way.

So the team and the fans could have been undeniably blindsided by this latest news, which means all bets are off about the Realtors chances for now.

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