THERE was no shortage of kind words for Kelly Williams shortly after he announced his retirement from the game of basketball on Monday afternoon, September 7.
Teammates and foes alike praised the 38-year-old forward after deciding to hang up his sneakers after a long and decorated 14-year career. The 6-foot-6 cager, whose mother Andrea Castro, actually is from Cebu, announced his retirement over social media.
Longtime teammate Jimmy Alapag said he was grateful for the chance to play with Williams on the TnT KaTropa.
"Thankful we had a chance to go to battle together in the PBA and the national team," Alapag was quoted as saying on the website of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
"Picked up some rings along the way, too," the man known as “Mighty Mouse” added.
Another former TnT teammate, Jared Dillinger, relayed how tough Williams was especially during his prime. Williams was a former first pick of the PBA Draft. He won Rookie of the Year and then a year later, the Most Valuable Player award.
"Prime Kelly was a problem," said Dillinger, who now plays for Barangay Ginebra.
Ginebra star Mark Caguioa said he fondly remembers their time together playing for the national team.
"I'm glad I got to play with you on the national team. Even though we didn't qualify, I've always had those great memories playing with you," remarked Caguioa.
Williams walks away from the game with a lot of hardware, having won a total of six championships. He won one with the team that drafted him, the defunct Sta. Lucia Realtors, and then five more with the TnT KaTropa, the team where he spent the bulk of his career.
Although Williams won a lot of individual honors, his biggest triumph arguably is returning to action in spite battling a rare blood disorder called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. The disease temporarily halted his career but he eventually made a comeback. (JNP)