Kelly Williams won’t be able to suit up for Smart Gilas

MANILA, Philippines—Minus a PBA clearance, Kelly Williams won’t be able to suit up for Smart Gilas in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.
Smart Gilas assistant coach Allan Gregorio Monday announced that the versatile 6-foot-7 slasher is certain to miss the Doha, Qatar, tournament on May 22 to 30, adding that the earliest Williams could join the national team is in the Guangzhou Asian Games in November.

Talk ‘N Text, which acquired Williams from Sta. Lucia Realty in a nine-player trade that also involved Barako Coffee, still has to get the PBA board’s permission to loan the 2008 PBA MVP to Smart Gilas.
“I think Kelly will finish the (PBA Fiesta) conference before playing for the national team,” said Gregorio. “We’re hoping to have him in the Asian Games.”
Talk ‘N Text is owned by telecommunications magnate Manny V. Pangilinan, who is also the president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the national sport association for basketball which handles Smart Gilas.
PBA rules limits a player to seeing action with his mother club and for a national team formed by the pro league.
Gilas is leaving for Doha on Thursday, hoping to surpass its fifth-place finish in the Champions Cup held in Jakarta last year.
The RP five is bracketed in Group A with defending champion Iran, Kazakhstan, Iraq and host Qatar. Group B is composed of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
While its rivals will be fielding two imports each, Gilas only has 6-foot-10 Serbian Milan Vucicevic as reinforcement.

By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer

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