RETURNING import Leroy Hickerson is pleased to be back in the PBA for the third time, but feels bad former teammate Renaldo Balkman won't get the chance play again in what he described as “one of the best leagues in the world.”
The 32-year-old Hickerson, who had earlier stints with Air21 and Barako Bull, is set to suit up for GlobalPort in the season-ending Governors Cup after teaming up with Balkman to lead Halcones Rojos de Veracruz to the Mexican Basketball League.
Hickerson believes Balkman has been a “good guy” since the choking incident with then Petron teammate Arwind Santos led to his lifetime ban from the PBA.
“I’m sure he feels bad for it. It’s (Philippines) a beautiful country and he can’t play here (in the PBA), one of the best leagues in the world,” Hickerson told Spin.ph on Saturday.
The 6-4 Hickerson said he saw on YouTube the choking incident that led to Balkman’s lifetime ban in the PBA. He mentioned that doing the same thing before the Mexican crowd would not have done him any good.
“I told him that he can’t do that in Mexico. They (Mexicans) probably gonna hurt him,” he said.
“But it was just a mistake. He realized it. He’s a good guy, but he was just angry and he really, really made a bad mistake,” added the journeyman.
“Balkman, he was the same, he had no problem (in Mexico). He was aggressive and he played with a lot of energy and he played with passion,” Hickeron.
Meantime, Hickerson said one week is enough time for hm to get adjusted with his new teammates at the Batang Pier, a team that is looking to improve on its 1-8 win-loss record under new coach Pido Jarencio in the Commissioner’s Cup.
In fact, the flamboyant GlobalPort reinforcement guaranteed Batang Pier fans that the two-year-old franchise will improve on their one-win total in the upcoming Governors Cup.
“That (one win in the Governors Cup) will not happen this year. It’s a guarantee that we’ll win more than one game. I bet my life, 100 percent,” he said, smiling.
Hickerson first played for Air21 during the 2009-10 season, averaging 32.8 points, 14.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists in six games.
He returned for his second PBA stint in the 2011-12 season, this time with Barako Bull, where he averaged 25.2 points, 7.5 points and 5.7 assists per game.