HENRY Walker admitted the call by some quarters for him to be replaced as Alaska import in the aftermath of the Aces’ embarrassing 123-72 blowout loss to Rain or Shine got him going Friday in their PBA Governors Cup game against San Mig Coffee.
The 6-foot-4 Walker bounced back with a vengeance by banging in 32 points, including five three-point shots, while providing the strong locker room leadership in leading the team to a convincing 93-84 victory over the defending champion Mixers.
“Nobody’s gonna forget that (51-point blowout loss to Rain or Shine). But there’s a lot of feedback from the Aces fans, and I’ve seen a lot, saying they need a new import,” Walker shared to sports scribes after the game.
“They try to get me out of here, but I took that to heart and just want to show them what I’m really about and how I really play basketball. So that’s what we did today,” he added.
Walker, who had stints with the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics a few years back, said he came in on Friday with a different demeanor, following Alaska’s brief practice the day before.
“I had a different demeanor. I talked to my mother and talked to CK (Kanapi, Alaska’s sports manager), and she’s just telling me to calm down and let the game come to me,” he said.
“So today, I was just focused on what I can control, try to help my teammates,and get this win.”
The 26-year-old former Kansas State standout said Alaska’s victory over San Mig somehow redeemed the Aces from that embarrassing defeat to the Elasto Painters and showed the kind of character the team has.
“It’s a little redemption man. That’s (loss to Rain or Shine) not who we are as players. That game got away from us, but we did some soul searching,” explained the sweet-shooting Walker.
“We didn’t even practice the next day, but we just let it sink in, just to think about everything we did and let that game get away.”
At 3-4, Alaska has revived its slim hopes for a top four finish after the eliminations, though Walker said what the Aces simply need to do now is to keep their focus on executing well especially in their last two assignments.