RENALDO Balkman is grateful to the PBA for lifting the lifetime ban imposed on him five years ago following a meltdown when he was still playing for Petron (now San Miguel Beer) in the PBA.
Balkman, 33, described the day his ban was lifted as a “great day” as he expressed his desire to play in the PBA once again if given the chance.
“I’m willing to come back,” said Balkman on Sunday after Alab Pilipinas defeated Saigon Heat in Game One of their ABL quarterfinal playoff.
“It was a great thing. It was a great day. Five years. When they called me to let me know, it was a sigh of relief that I can play again.”
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial lifted the league ban on Balkman following a consultation with Santos, who the former NBA player choked during a 2013 game, and former commissioner Chito Salud.
Balkman said he accepted an offer to play for Alab Pilipinas without any expectation that the life ban in the PBA would be lifted.
“I didn’t expect this to happen. I play to win the championship for my ABL team. The PBA came when I came out here. That’s a great plus for me. I can keep moving forward in my career after this is over, whether it’s the PBA or not,” said Balkman.
Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag was also happy for Balkman.
“It feels great. As athletes, as human beings, people make mistakes and he’s been very adamant from the time it happened five years ago that it was something that he regretted,” Alapag said.
The Puerto Rican national player, however, refused to look too far ahead, saying his main goal is to help Alab Pilipinas win an ABL championship.
”That’s a good thing. But right now, we are focused on trying to win a championship. Our main goal is to win the championship,” said Balkman.