RENALDO Balkman is one type of guy who doesn’t believe in ghosts, even the ghosts of Petron Blaze's past.
Balkman is fully aware of the miseries the talented but underachieving Boosters have had over the past season, but he has been rallying his teammates not to get stuck in the past and instead look forward.
“I don’t believe in ghosts, what happened in the past is past. I am the type of guy who looks to the future,” said the former New York Knicks forward. “I don’t look at yesterday, I look at what is going on right now.”
With a six-year stint in the NBA with the Knicks and Denver Nuggets, Balkman no doubt is brimming with experience and unmatched credentials. He also knows whereof he speaks.
Petron, one of the most successful franchises in league history, has been on a spiral since winning its last championship in the 2011 Governors Cup. The Boosters were blanked during the 2012 season, leading to the firing of coach Ato Agustin, and went bust in Olsen Racela's first conference as coach.
Along the way, a frustrated Petron management ditched former national coach Rajko Toroman as consultant.
But Balkman is motivated to help the Boosters put the struggles behind them.
“Everyday, I tell my teammates, ‘Don’t look back. Look forward. Let’s take it one game at a time,'" he said.
So far, Petron is looking like a team reborn. The Boosters have won five straight games since losing their PBA Commissioner's Cup opener to the Globalport Batang Pier.
Even Racela is amazed by how his import is providing energy and inspiration to the team.
“Malaking bagay yung import namin - yung intensity niya, depensa, nahahawa yung ibang players eh,” said Racela. “Alam naman natin sa ganitong conference, malaking bagay ang binibigay ng import."
The former Petron star guard also heaped praise on the improved play of his locals, but warned that there is a lot more work to be done if the Boosters hope to return to the winner's circle.
“Wala pa kami sa kalahati ng kumperensya, we have to focus more on the ultimate goal.”