ALASKA import Henry Walker said the scuffle with Meralco forward Danny Ildefonso last week taught him a neat lesson in controlling his emotions especially as he adjusts to the physical brand of play in the PBA.
The stocky Alaska reinforcement finished with a near triple-double right in his debut in Asia’s first play-for-pay league, firing 27 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and handing out nine assists to lead the Aces to a 94-87 victory over San Miguel in the opener of the season-ending Governors Cup.
Walker banged bodies with San Miguel’s beefy frontline of June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, and Doug Kramer, but managed to keep his cool so far.
“I think those practice games and tune-up are building blocks to get me ready for the day, and I had a lot of success so far,” said Walker, who was fined P20,000 last Friday by commissioner Chito Salud for his fight with Ildefonso in the Aces’ 103-110 loss to Meralco in a tune-up game last week.
While Walker managed his temper, the Alaska import said he will have to constantly remind himself to be focused on the game and not get distracted by the physicality of the game.
“I feel like if you get in a situation that you don’t get something and learn from it, you waste your time,” said Walker, who played for the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks a few years ago in the NBA.
“These guys (Beermen), they played as hard as hell ... they went out and competed,” he added.
But should somebody try to hit him hard in the course of the tournament, Walker is convinced his Alaska teammates will be there to protect him as well.
“I know there’s gonna come a time where some guys will come in to use some tactics, try to knock me off my game. I know what to expect now.
“I’m glad that (fracas against Meralco) happened. I definitely learned from it, but now I just focus on my game and I’m sure my guys will protect me,” said Walker.