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Walker to spark turnaround?

Blackwater team owner and Ever Bilena CEO Dioceldo Sy said the other day replacement import Henry Walker could be the missing piece to reverse the Elite’s fortunes in the PBA Governors Cup.

Walker, 29, arrived from a long flight at 4 a.m. last Tuesday and reported for practice five hours later. Sy was in the gym to look over Walker and left with a wide smile. He liked what he saw.

New Blackwater import Henry Walker.
“Walker was 275 pounds when he played for NLEX last year,” said Sy. “Now, he’s down to 255 which was his playing weight in the NBA. He looks ready to go. At practice, he was knocking down shots from way out. He’s got a nice soft touch. He just came from playing in the Dominican Republic and after the PBA, he’ll move to the Chinese league. He’ll use the PBA to get ready for China.”

Sy said Walker looks different not only because he lost 20 pounds but also as he’s now clean-cut. No more dreadlocks, no more braids. “We asked for his release from NLEX and coach Yeng (Guiao) signed it,” said Sy. “Walker was NLEX’ back-up in case (Aaron) Fuller didn’t work out. But it looks like coach Yeng is happy with Fuller.” NLEX is on a four-game winning streak as Fuller is averaging 26.3 points and 20.8 rebounds. Guiao couldn’t be happier.

Walker reached out to former NLEX teammate Asi Tualava the day he landed. “I got a text from Henry,” said Taulava. “I’m happy he’s back in the PBA. I think he’ll be good for Blackwater. He’s a leader. He’s also very vocal when it comes to calling out teammates who aren’t working their butts off. He can play one, two, three, four and five and has excellent range on his shot. His hands make James Yap’s hands look small.”

Blackwater got off on the wrong foot with import Trevis Simpson who proved to be too skinny and lean to play the PBA’s physical game. The Elite opened the conference with a whimper, losing to Meralco, 107-78. Then, Blackwater bowed to Star, 103-86 and San Miguel Beer, 118-93. Simpson suffered a groin injury against San Miguel and limped off the court without scoring a single point. The decision to sign a replacement was inevitable.


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