RENALDO Balkman sidestepped questions about the possibility of jumping to the PBA straight from leading San Miguel Alab Pilipinas to a maiden Asean Basketball League (ABL) championship.
The Puerto Rican national, whose life ban was lifted by the PBA last month, said he prefers to celebrate the hard-earned championship before looking at his next options.
“Right now, we are going to see the next week or so and see what happens and then go from there,” said Balkman, who was brought to the Alab fold along with Justin Brownlee by agent Sheryl Reyes.
Balkman, 33, had an impressive showing in the ABL which he capped with a 32-point, nine-rebound, six-assist performance in Alab's title-clinching 102-92 victory over Mono Vampire.
Balkman's life ban for choking then Petron teammate Arwind Santos in a 2013 game has been lifted by Commissioner Willie Marcial and he should be in the sights of most PBA teams.
However, Marcial confirmed league rules state his former team, San Miguel, hold the signing rights on Balkman, who can only be tapped by other teams if the Beermen waive their rights on him.
Marcial explained SMB's rights of first refusal on the import didn't lapse during the time the former New York Knick served his life ban.
SMB's rights, he said, will only lapse once the team declines to sign up Balkman in one conference where the import is eligible to play.
San Miguel has already brought in a new import in Troy Gillenwater for the Commissioner's Cup and declined to talk about the possibility of bringing Balkman back.
Alab coach Jimmy Alapag said Balkman will make a big impact on any team that chooses to sign him up.
“Whichever team is smart enough - could be here, could be anywhere around the world - to get this guy, I’m telling you, you put yourself in position to win the championship,” said Alapag.
Balkman, however, refused to take all the credit for the championship.
“It’s not just about me. It’s everyone and the team,” said the former NBA player.