Renaldo Balkman thanks PBA for lifting his ban as import

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 02, 2018 10:51 AM
Renaldo Balkman thanks PBA for lifting his ban as import
Renaldo Balkman is nothing but thankful that the doors of the PBA have opened for him once again

Renaldo Balkman will be able to play again in the PBA.

Asia’s first pay-for-play league lifted its ban on the Puerto Rican a week ago, meaning he could play as early as the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup tipping off in April.

For now, however, Balkman is staying where he’s at – with Alab Pilipinas and their playoff run in the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League. “I’m focused on this right now. We gotta win the championship,” he told reporters after they took Game 1 of the best-of-three quarterfinals last Sunday.

Pressed further on his thoughts about the positive development, he said, “It’s a great thing. Five years ago, I did something and when they (PBA) called me and let me know (about lifting the ban), I was kinda relieved.”

He then continued, “Thank you to the PBA.”

The versatile forward was once a reinforcement for Petron 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 Balkman for life and fined him PhP 250, 000.

Now that is over, is he is interested to entertain any offers for the upcoming PBA conference and continue his redemption tour there? “I’m willing to come back,” he answered.

Still, the 33-year-old made it clear that his focus remains on Alab. As he put it, “It was a great thing, but right now, our main goal is to win the championship.”

After all, his stint with the Filipino side opened eyes, and hearts, to his talent in the sport the Philippines is crazy about. Asked if his time in the ABL could have led to a second time in the PBA, he answered, “Probably, they haven’t seen me in a while, so it could be that, but as a basketball player, I come out there and play every game like it’s my last.”

He then continued, “I didn’t expect this to happen. I came here to win a championship for Alab and the PBA came while I’m out here. That’s a plus for me.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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