Rain or Shine import Henry Walker is already in town, and coach Chris Gavina is raring to have the American forward in the team’s buildup for the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Walker, after all, has proven himself a truly capable fellow, reinforcing several PBA clubs in the past.
“What I always liked from Henry every time he has played out here is his ability not only to play at an elite level, but also elevate his teammates’ level of play as well,” Gavina told the Inquirer on Saturday.
“He’s always been able to increase the value of his teammates and that is what we are hoping he can do for our team,” the Painters mentor added of his reinforcement, who planed in on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Justin Brownlee, Barangay Ginebra’s resident import, is set to arrive early this week, bringing the Governors’ Cup closer to an opening date.
“He’s flying in on Tuesday,” team manager Rayboy Rodriguez told the Inquirer in an update also on Saturday.
Brownlee is looking to help the crowd darlings to a successful title defense. The beloved import is also shooting for a fifth crown in the PBA.
Brownlee’s arrival makes Tony Bishop Jr., Meralco’s replacement import, the last reinforcement to be accounted for.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial earlier said the league will wait for all of the imports to arrive before penciling a definite start date for the season-ending tournament. The league chief hopes to give teams several practice days with their foreign backups before kicking off the games.
Rain or Shine is Walker’s fourth team in the PBA, having bolstered the front lines of Alaska, NLEX and Blackwater in several occasions. He averaged 21.2 points and 12 rebounds and 2.1 steals over the course of 17 games for the Bossing (then Elite) during his last tour of duty here.
Gavina feels that Walker is also the scoring boost that his crew sorely needs.
“It was apparent that we struggled with being able to be an efficient offensive team,” he said. “But now that we have an import who has the ability to provide much-needed points we’ve been seeking, we feel we have the pieces … to make a deep run into the playoffs.”
Rain or Shine was the lowest-scoring team during the last all-Filipino showcase, turning in just an average of 77.5 points throughout its campaign. But that could be easily attributed to the team’s famed focus on defense, which saw the Painters hold teams down to an average of 80 points—the league’s best.
“We’re hoping [Walker is] able to get out of quarantine by [Sunday], right in time for our practice on Monday,” said Gavina.
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