Although Roi Sumang earned Best Player of the Game honors for steering Blackwater past NLEX in their PBA Governors’ Cup collision Friday night, the diminutive playmaker deflected the credit to comebacking PBA import Henry Walker.
The 26-year-old Sumang said Walker’s presence has certainly elevated the intensity and competitive spirit of Blackwater, which only won a total of 2 games in the first two conferences this season.
“Ano siya (Walker), sobrang vocal niya kahit sa practice namin. Eh feeling ko kahit mag-error ka sa practice at 5-on-5 lang, ayaw na ayaw niya nagkakamali ka. Sobrang vocal pa rin siya kaya siguro nagiging ganun ang game namin, may leader na kami sa court,” Sumang told media men, shortly after Blackwater squeaked past NLEX, 107-106.
The 5-8 guard banged in a PBA career-high 32 points, lacing it with 5 triples, none bigger than his fifth one, when he gave the Elite a 107-101 cushion heading to the last 2 minutes.
Walker said in the short time he’s been with the team, he already saw the potential of the cat-quick Sumang.
“Me and Roi got into it this week, not into an argument or something like that, but it’s just that we were going over some stuff, like 5-and 0 and I was watching him, because he’s a talented kid, but his focus wasn’t there so I told him, ‘Hey man, these are the bricks you are putting down for your house, are you gonna build your foundation with bricks or wood?’” the 29-year-old Walker said.
The American import said what he did was to simply push Sumang to realize his potential, considering that the Blackwater point guard can make things happen when he’s on the floor.
“Once he got what I was saying, he’s capable of doing it because I see him everyday in practice,” explained Walker, whose most recent NBA stint was with the Miami Heat last season.
“You’ve got to translate it on your side, and he came in today, seized the opportunity and made it happen.”
Asked if Sumang can eventually reach the level of play GlobalPort star Terrence Romeo is enjoying today, Walker said that all depends on his teammate.
“I think maybe Romeo took his craft more seriously than Roi did, but I’m not saying Roi didn’t take his craft seriously but today, you see the potential that you have. So now, you should go in everyday because that’s the potential,” shared Walker, who played for Alaska and NLEX in his first 2 tries in the PBA.
“You have to bring that to the game. He’s got the talent, but potential is nothing because you have to get there.”
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