ALASKA import Henry Walker was slapped with a P30,000 fine but escaped suspension for hitting Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee with an elbow in Game Four, making him eligible to play in the two teams' do-or-die match in the PBA Governors Cup semifinals on Saturday.
The former New York Knick was slapped with a flagrant foul penalty 2 and automatically ejected with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter on Thursday night when he hit Lee with an elbow on the back of the head. Rain or Shine went on to win the game in overtime, 123-121.
The Commissioner's Office's decision should come as a relief for the Aces, since fouls of such nature usually merit suspensions in the league.
In the end, Commissioner Chito Salud handed Walker his second fine in his stint with the Aces - his second in the league after he was slapped P20,000 for a scuffle with Meralco veteran Danny Ildefonso during a practice game at the Meralco gym on May 13.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao had hit out at Walker, saying his ejection in Game Four was ‘long overdue.’
“He is a menace to the league and he is a big bully,” said Guiao told mediamen after the Elasto Painters squaked past the Aces in overtime.
Guiao said Walker deserved an ejection long before Game Four, mentioning an earlier incident involving Walker in Game Two where the import shoved Beau Belga, causing him to collide with Alaska cager Calvin Abueva.
Guiao said what Walker did in Game Two was more serious than throwing a punch.
“That also deserved an ejection,” Guiao rued. “How can a 230-pound guy throw his whole weight at somebody and not get ejected? It’s a dangerous foul. It’s a lot more serious than a punch, kung ibabato mo buong katawan ko sa isang tao.”
“It just so happened that Beau was another 230-pounder guy. But what if it was (Raymond) Almazan? What if it was TY Tang? What if it was Paul Lee? Somebody who was smaller. Ibabato mo ‘yung buong katawan mo sa kanya. It can cause serious injuries.”
“That was the reason why it was long overdue,” said Guiao.
Guiao said an ejection should have also been served against Walker in Game Two.
“I don’t think there is any weight class here. If you throw your whole weight into a person who is unaware, who has his back turned to you, you deserved to be ejected. And you are a 250-pounder. Mabuti na lang si Beau mabigat. Paano kung manipis,” said Guiao.
Despite the incident between Walker, Guiao vowed that his team will not be affected by the Alaska import's physicality as they play Game Five on Saturday.
"Our focus now is Game Five," Guiao said.