PBA return ‘the goal’ for Alab’s Renaldo Balkman

PBA return ‘the goal’ for Alab’s Renaldo Balkman
Renaldo Balkman is focused on Alab Pilipinas' campaign in the ABL, but also has a PBA return in the back of his mind

For the second straight game, Renaldo Balkman was the difference for Alab Pilipinas.

Finishing a sensational setup by fellow reinforcement Justin Brownlee, Balkman won for the Filipinos their sixth consecutive victory last Wednesday.

And it wasn’t just the game-winner where he made an impact as he was brilliant all throughout to wind up with 31 points, 13 rebounds, five steals, and three blocks.

This, fresh off being named the league’s best World Import for the week of January 30 to February 5.

This, after averaging 20.5 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and three steals in big-time victories over Chinese team Chong Son and Singapore.

While Brownlee was, of course, the fan favorite when the two new imports were introduced, Balkman has evidently come into his own in his return to Philippine basketball.

If his strong showing continues, and even intensifies, could it catapult the Puerto Rican back into the PBA?

Asked about the prospects of playing again in Asia’s first and oldest professional league, he answered, “That’s the goal.”

Balkman was once a reinforcement for Petron (now known as San Miguel) in the PBA back in 2013.

In the dying seconds of the Blaze Boosters’ game against Alaska on March 8, he went berserk following what he felt was a non-call by the referees. He wound up shoving game officials, his coaches, and his teammates Ronald Tubid and Arwind Santos.

The incident ended with what is the most infamous image he has in the minds of Filipinos – him putting his two hands around the neck of Santos.

Not long after the incident, then-PBA commissioner Chito Salud banned the versatile big man for life and fined him PhP 250, 000.

In previous interviews, Balkman said he has moved forward from the incident. “I did lots of things since then and tonight, it wasn’t on my mind, it wasn’t on my head. I just went out there to play basketball,” he had shared.

The versatile big man may be eyeing a PBA return, but was also quick to add, “But right now, we’re gonna finish the ABL first. Right now, our goal is to win a championship in the ABL.”

Indeed, with their win run, Alab now find themselves at solo third with top two teams Hong Kong and Chong Son well within reach.

And reiterating his full-time commitment to contending Alab, Balkman remarked, “Right now, it’s about the ABL and we can talk about the PBA later. We’re gonna finish this and see where it goes.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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