SENSING every little advantage he can get, Rain or Shine bruiser Beau Belga claimed he has found the Achilles heel of the Alaska Aces.
And it's none other than Henry Walker's volatile temperament.
“Oo, pikon siya. Madali siyang mapikon at napipikon siya 'pag pinipisikal mo siya,” said the wide-bodied star, moments after Rain or Shine evened its PBA Governors' Cup semifinal playoff with Alaska with a 99-87 victory on Sunday night at the Big Dome.
The 230-pound Belga played a prominent role in the victory that levelled the series at 1-1, scoring crucial baskets in the final quarter to help hold off an Alaska comeback from a 26-point deficit.
He was also at the center of a commotion early in the third period when, after a physical rebound battle, he was shoved from behind by an agitated Walker and ended up barreling into Alaska forward Calvin Abueva like a bowling ball.
Walker ended up being called for a flagrant foul and was forced to sit out as Rain or Shine broke the game wide open.
Belga said that play has shown him that the former New York Knick has a short fuse and doesn't like engaging in a physical battle on the floor - something which he said he won't hesitate to pounce on for the rest of the best-of-five series.
“Madaling masira laro niya kaya advantage sa amin 'yun. Siguro kung may chance na mas atakihin pa yung kahinaan niya na 'yun, 'yun siguro ang gagawin namin,” said Belga.
“Syempre, advantage sa amin 'yun kung masisira laro niya. Import siya eh. Kami naman kahit na anong mangyari, yun na talaga ang laro namin,” he added. “Alam na!”
Walker later claimed that he was punched for the second time in as many games by Rain or Shine players and said Belga and teammate Jireh Ybanes tried to deliberately hurt him.
Belga, however, insisted that Rain or Shine only plays physical but never dirty.
“Kami naman laro lang ang sa amin, kung nasasaktan siya sa physicality ng laro namin, wala kaming magagawa roon. Alangan namang kami ang mag-adjust sa kanya,” said the former PCU standout.
"Hindi ako mag-aadjust dahil nasasaktan siya o hindi siya sanay,” he added. “Hindi siya marumi maglaro, pero nakakasakit rin siya eh. Masakit rin siya bumangga eh. Pero kami sanay kami, tinatanggap namin. Kaso siya parang hindi sanay (ng binabangga).”
Spin.ph tried to get the side of Walker on Belga’s statement, but assistant coach Franco Atienza said they would rather not let their players answer controversial questions from the press.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao felt the referees decision' not to eject Walker after assaulting Belga was "very lenient on the part of the officials."
“That’s something, I thought, was an ejection foul on Walker. They were just too lenient on him. He attacked Beau,” said Guaio. “That’s dangerous, that could have sparked something more serious.”