Renaldo Balkman hopes for a second chance in the PBA
MANILA, Philippines - It’s all about turning a new leaf for Renaldo Balkman in his return to the Philippines.
Balkman is best remembered in Philippine basketball as the Petron (now San Miguel) import who choked his own teammate Arwind Santos. But if he would have it his way, all that is part of the past now.
After that incident in March 2013, the 33-year-old Puerto Rican made it back to the country as Alab Pilipinas’ new reinforcement thanks to head coach Jimmy Alapag. (READ: Alapag kept his 3-year promise to bring Balkman back to PH basketball)
And he did not disappoint, turning in 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals and two blocks in Alab’s 90-79 win over the Westports Malaysia Dragons that marked the team’s second straight win following 3 consecutive losses.
Heading into the game, the former New York Knick did not know how people would react with him playing on Filipino hardwood again.
But what happened 3 years ago hardly affected people’s reception of him as he was warmly received by the jampacked crowd at the Arena in San Juan on January 3.
“It felt good. I didn’t expect it, but the past is the past. 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. It’s been a long time,” said Balkman.
Although Balkman’s last trip in the PBA did not end well with a ban and a corresponding P250,000 fine, he hopes to get a crack at being an import again in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
“That’s the goal, but right now, we’re gonna finish the ABL first. We’re gonna finish this and see where it goes,” said Balkman.
“Right now, it’s about the ABL and we can talk about the PBA later. Right now, our goal is to win a championship in the ABL.” – Rappler.com