PBA: Williams-less TNT faces Magnolia; ROS vs Converge


TNT will be without star guard Mikey Williams when it starts its title defense against Magnolia Chicken Timplados Sunday as the Philippine Cup ushers in the start of the PBA’s 47th season at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Coach Chot Reyes bared in a television interview yesterday that his team and Williams are still on the negotiating table, thus leaving the Tropang Giga shorthanded going into the 6:30 p.m. match with the Hotshots.

The rematch of last year’s All-Filipino Finals will complete a busy opening day, with the 46th season Leo Awards kicking things off at 2 p.m.

Williams and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Scottie Thompson are groomed as names that could possibly be announced during the awarding rites which honors the top achievers of the 2021-22 campaign.

Other honors to be handed are the First and Second Mythical Team selections, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, All-Defensive Team and Sportsmanship Award.

Also on tap is the opening ceremony which returns to its standard setup after two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, featuring the parade of teams and their muses.

Newcomer Converge begins its foray into the big league at 4:30 p.m. opposite Rain or Shine.

Converge is aiming for a win in its debut, with rookies Jeo Ambohot, Justin Arana, Kurt Lojera and recently-signed Tyrus Hill combining with Alaska holdovers Jeron Teng, Mike DiGregorio, Allyn Bulanadi and Kevin Racal.

The Tropang Giga will play sans Williams, who is seeking a new deal with his two-year contract set to expire after the new season.

Reyes said in the program Power and Play that Williams invoked a clause that allows him to re-negotiate should TNT win a championship.

With Williams out, TNT may have to do some heavy loading as a collective unit with RR Pogoy, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Poy Erram and Kib Montalbo leading the way.