MANILA – Puerto Rican forward Renaldo Balkman may now return as import in the PBA after the league decided to lift its lifetime ban on him.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed the lifting of the ban on the former NBA forward after getting a nod from former PBA commissioner Angelico “Chito” Salud, who imposed the penalty.
“He (Balkman) wrote a letter of appeal, then personally appeared in my office,” said Marcial. “But I didn’t decide based on just that. I solicited the thoughts of Commissioner Chito Narvasa and Arwind Santos. Both gave their thumbs-up for the lifting of the ban.”
“Balkman was apologetic and gave assurance for his behavior on and off the court. He has matured since the incident now that he’s 33,” Marcial added.
Balkman, who played for New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets in the NBA, was meted the suspension after choking his Petron Blaze Boosters (now San Miguel Beermen) teammate Arwind Santos in 2013. He was also slapped with a P250,000 fine.
“I trust that Balkman has learned his lesson,” Salud wrote the league.
Sheryl Reyes, who represented Balkman in the Philippines, said she was thankful that the PBA welcomed the player back.
She thanked Salud and Marcial for “giving him (Blakman) a second chance.” “God is good,” she said.
The 33-year-old Balkman currently plays for San Miguel Beer-Alab Pilipinas in the 2018 ASEAN Basketball League./PN