Coach Jimmy proves to Balkman that he’s a man of his word

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 07, 2018 09:01 PM
Coach Jimmy proves to Balkman that he’s a man of his word
The seeds in the partnership between Jimmy Alapag and Renaldo Balkman were planted back in the 2013 FIBA World Cup

Renaldo Balkman’s redemption in the Philippines in underway.

And the person who gave him that shot for redemption just so happens to be a former foe.

Balkman, then with Petron as an import in the PBA, once faced off with Jimmy Alapag, then with TNT as floor leader.

Alapag is now the head coach for Alab Pilipinas where Balkman has made an immediate impact as reinforcement. “We wanted somebody who gives us versatility and we just got lucky Renaldo was available,” the former said of the latter.

The two had also met on the court back when the Philippines waged war against Puerto Rico in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.

It was there, apparently, that they already had some sort of premonition that all of this would be happening.

“You know, a quick story about Renaldo. When I saw him in Spain, he said, ‘Hey, if you ever get into coaching and the door opens up for me to come back to Manila, I’ll be ready,’” the rookie mentor shared with reporters. “And it just worked out that he’s back.”

Just imagine that, right after Balkman and Puerto Rico downed Alapag and the Philippines, 73-77, the former approached the latter about something that may or may not happen in the future.

“I played against him as a player and now, he’s my coach. It’s a blessing to be given that chance,” the now 33-year-old reinforcement said. “We talked about it a couple of years ago. He told me that if he had a chance to coach me, he would and that’s what happened.”

This, even after Balkman’s infamous exit from the Philippines in 2013 that saw him banned from the PBA for life.

Still, Alapag took a chance on him – in his first-ever season calling the shots, no less. “Right now, I’m still thanking him ‘cause he kept his promise so I’ll keep my promise to him of winning a championship,” Balkman said.

For the Alab head coach, the past is the past and the only thing to do is to move forward. “I really think what happened years back was an isolated incident. At the end of the day, no one’s perfect and we all make mistakes,” he said.

He then continued, “He’s said it numerous times that he’s regretful of what happened. That’s all that matters.”

Just like he did, Alapag urged his kababayans to take a chance on their new ABL import. As he put it, “Hopefully, that issue will be dead and he will be able to make a much better impression here in the Philippines.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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