MANILA, Philippines–Kelly Williams is honored to be unexpectedly included in the Gilas Pilipinas team following the absence of key players on the front lines for the sixth window of the Fiba World Cup Asia Qualifiers later this month .
“[Gilas coach] last [Reyes] know that I am available for him if he needs me,” Williams said after helping TNT Tropang Giga achieves 138-116 of Blackwater Bossing during the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 41 years old brought back can wear the national team jersey for the home games against Lebanon and Jordan at the Philippine Arena later Japeth Aguilar and naturalized player Ange Kouame was disqualified due to injury.
Williams was also brought in to fill the void Kai Sottowho decided not to participate in the final stage of the qualifying round.
“With Japeth, Kai and Big Ange absent, the coach is a bit confused,” Williams continued before downplaying his chances. “Let’s see what happens. But right now, it’s just the pool. We’ll see what happens day by day.”
Last year, Williams entered the second window of qualifying, Gilas’ first assignment in a major competition since the 2011 Fiba Asian Championships in Wuhan, China.
But being reconsidered, despite the slim chance, was enough for Williams to feel satisfied.
“I am very grateful that my talents and abilities are being appreciated,” he said. “Since I came here, a lot of attention has been paid to how old a player is no matter how effective he is.
“I’ve seen it time and time again over the past few decades. Being appreciated at 41 and clearly still being able to play at a high level, for me personally, it’s nice to be appreciated. But like I said, we’ll see what happens.”
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