TNT Tropang Giga has yet to determine the return of Mikey Williams for the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup starting 5 November.
TNT governor Ricky Vargas refused to issue a statement, admitting that they remain clueless on the whereabouts of the explosive Filipino-American playmaker.
Vargas said all they know is that Williams is still in the United States but his return to the country remains a mystery.
The Tropang Giga, in fact, didn’t include him in the final roster despite having a live contract that will run until 2025.
“Well, Mikey is still on vacation,” said Vargas, drawing laughter from the packed Diamond Hotel where the league launched its Season 48.
But with or without Williams, the Tropang Giga is leaving no stone unturned in coming up with a solid preparation.
TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa said he brought in former PBA imports — Sean Chambers and Derrick Hamilton — to serve as consultants who could help him whip the Tropang Giga into fighting form.
Chambers and Hamilton have joined the Tropang Giga in their camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna which runs until 26 October.
“They’re special trainers. We will still see the values that they could bring to us. I still have to see them working, hoping to see some good stuff,” Lastimosa, who played with Chambers and Hamilton during the glory years of Alaska in the 1990s, said in a Viber message.
“They’ll be training us until 26 October.”
Aside from Williams, the Tropang Giga entered the camp without key players like Poy Erram, Justin Chua and Roger Pogoy, who are all nursing various injuries.
Still, Vargas sees a lot of positives in the squad, especially the vast improvement of Calvin Oftana. “He has gained a lot of experience in the Asian Games. My only worry is, he might love Alfrancis Chua more,” Vargas said in jest, referring to the 27-year-old Oftana who played a crucial role for Gilas Pilipinas in its historic conquest in the Asian Games.
Vargas said he remains upbeat on the team’s chances while waiting for the arrival of Williams.
Vargas said veteran guard Ryan Reyes had already returned to training as well as import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who joined Quincy Miller in reinforcing them in Season 2 of the East Asia Super League.