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TNT cracks whip on star gunner

Star playmaker Mikey Williams is in deep trouble after the TNT Tropang Giga suspended him for a week without pay in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup after missing a practice session.

Tropang Giga team manager Jojo Lastimosa didn’t hold back his emotions, saying that they are already fed up with Williams as he thinks that he is better than the rest of the team.

Lastimosa said Williams didn’t show up for practice last Saturday, prompting them to bar him from seeing action during their 88-91 loss to Phoenix last Sunday.

“He can’t practice, he can’t show himself. The thing with him is he won’t apologize to his teammates like, ‘Hey guys, I missed practice, I missed the camp because I had to attend.’ He just doesn’t care,” said Lastimosa, referring to the Filipino-American star who has been averaging 19.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in his first five games in this midseason conference.

“That’s how we feel — he just doesn’t care. He’s getting paid a lot of money and he’s not being a good teammate.”

Skipping team activities is nothing new for the 31-year-old gunner from California State-Fullerton.

In fact, he also failed to join their practice on 1 October after he flew to the United States to have his ankle checked.

Lastimosa said they understood his situation but expressed dismay as Williams failed to fulfill his end of the agreement.

“Instead of listening to us when we’re coming back to practice, he creates his own timetable for his return. That’s not fair. That’s not fair to everyone because they all came back,” Lastimosa said.

“He’s acting like he’s on another level, he’s better than the rest of the players, which shouldn’t be the case.”

“We always told him, if you miss practice, at least try to call or text me or text anyone, inform anyone what’s going on, that you’re not going to make it. That’s okay. But he won’t. He won’t.”

With seasoned playmaker Jayson Castro entering the twilight of his career, there is no doubt that Williams now holds the key to TNT offense.

He made heads turn when he played a crucial role when the Tropang Giga challenged San Miguel Beer in the best-of-seven finals showdown of the previous Philippine Cup.

But TNT head coach Chot Reyes is hardly bothered by his absence against Phoenix and when they face Terrafirma on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

“We don’t dwell on those things. We only worry about the players who are here. Those who aren’t here, there’s nothing we can do about that,” Reyes said.

“He is not here. We focus on the players who are here. We have enough to win games. Doesn’t matter who is here, we should be able to go and play 48 minutes.”

Lastimosa warned that they will not hesitate to go hard on Williams if he refuses to change his attitude.

“He’s the one who has a problem — not me or not the team. He’s just one of the total part of the team. There’s no sacred cow in our team,” Lastimosa said.

“Next time, the second time, we won’t be as nice. It’s not going to be one week anymore because I know it’s going to recur. If that’s the case then it’s going be worse.”

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