NLEX hires ex-Miami Heat Henry Walker, Lebanese Rodrigue Akl

NBA veteran and former Alaska import Henry Walker along with Lebanese national playmaker Rodrigue Akl are set to reinforce the NLEX Road Warriors for the season-ending PBA Governors Cup.

NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre confirmed the latest import development on Thursday in a chat with FOX Sports.

Dulatre said Walker’s vast NBA experience and familiarity with the PBA were put into consideration.

“Henry’s a legit 3 and 4, who can also play the 5 position, plus he’s already in the PBA with Alaska, tapos nag-Miami Heat pa siya,” Dulatre said.

The 28-year-old Walker had his first PBA stint during the 2014 Governors Cup, helping the Alaska Aces reach the semifinals. The Aces eventually lost to Rain or Shine, 3-2 in the series.

In 15 games, the sweet-shooting Walker normed 21.40 points, 8.93 rebounds and 5.60 assists in over 36 minutes of action for the Aces.

The 6-foot-4 Walker will be coming off a stint with the KK Cedevita Zagreb in the Adriatic League in Croatia. His stats line includes 7.7 points and 3.3 rebounds, while shooting 37.9 percent clip from three-point zone.

“Isang advantage ni Henry is he’ll be fresh from a stint in Croatia so he’ll just rest for about a week after their tournament, then he’ll fly to Manila not later than June 25,” explained the amiable NLEX team official.

Walker, selected 47th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2008 NBA Draft, averaged 7.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in his NBA return via the Miami Heat during the 2015 season.

On the other hand, Akl, listed at 6-2 is fresh from recent stint with Sagesse-Al Hekme in Lebanon’s basketball league.

“If you look at Akl’s stats, he’s not an offensive player, but he’s a very good passer and he’ll definitely bring additional leadership to the team,” Dulatre added.

The 28-year-old Akl was a member of the Lebanon national team that reached the semifinals in the 2009 FIBA Asia men’s championship, losing to Jordan in the bronze medal game.

Akl had his best FIBA Asia averages of 5.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists during the 2011 edition in Wuhan, China.

Philippine agent Sheryl Reyes said Akl is set to arrive in Manila on June 19 and will join NLEX’s practice the next day. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava

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