A MORE focused Henry Walker showed how good he is on Tuesday night as Alaska ripped Rain or Shine, 104-94, to move within a win of a place in the PBA Governors Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Keeping his emotions in check despite the physicality, the former New York Knick played his finest game in an Alaska uniform to help the Aces take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five semifinal series.
San Mig leads Talk 'N Text, 2-1, in the other half of the Final Four.
“Just proud of Henry because he came out and battled today,” said Alex Compton, whose team can advance to the Finals right in his first conference as coach with another victory on Thursday.
The usually volatile Walker played a very controlled game, scoring at will on post-up plays when guarded by Jireh Ybanes while hitting his three-pointers with regularity against bigger defenders.
He scored 11 of his 26 points in the final four minutes, when the Aces put away the win that moved them on the brink of their first finals appearance since winning the Commissioner's Cup under Luigi Trillo last season.
The rookie Alaska coach said he was happy to see the Aces play unselfish basketball as reflected in the final stats sheets where six players scored in double-figures.
“I think when we have a bunch of guys who share the basketball and a bunch of guys who score the basketball, we’re tougher to guard,” said the 40-year-old Alaska coach.
Alaska played solid defense for full 48 minutes, scoring 21 points off 16 Rain or Shine turnovers while holding the Painters to 41.3 percent shooting from the field.
Calvin Abueva added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Aces, while Gabby Espinas, who was ejected in the team’s 87-99 Game Two loss, added 12 points.
Dondon Hontiveros, Sonny Thoss and Vic Manuel chipped in 11 points apiece.
Jeff Chan carried the scoring cudgels for the Elasto Painters with 22 points but import AZ Reid scored just five points in the second half. He finished with 17 points on a poor 5-of-19 clip.