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    Black reveals Meralco tried to bring in Balkman after Shabazz change of heart

    Mar 27, 2022
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    NORMAN Black disclosed Meralco tried to bring in former Best Import Renaldo Balkman to reinforce the Bolts in the 2021 PBA Governors' Cup.

    The idea to have Balkman join the Bolts came after the failure of Shabazz Muhammad to honor the contract he signed to play for the team.

    There was one problem, though.

    Balkman stood exactly 6-foot-6 under his old records with the PBA Commisioner's Office and therefore wasn't eligible to play in the conference where the height limit for imports was 6-5.

    "We were turned down by the commissioner who said he (Balkman) should be under 6-foot-6. He was listed as 6-6 when he was measured the last time," recalled Black.

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      The Bolts asked for a remeasurement, but under league rules, an import who had previously played in the league can no longer be measured again.

      Actually, the failed pursuit of the former San Miguel import and Puerto Rican national player turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it led the Bolts to Tony Bishop.

      Continue reading below ↓

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        It so happened that Balkman and Bishop were playing together in Puerto Rico where the latter was the scoring leader of the team.

        "We noticed Tony Bishop was the leading scorer and rebounder of the team. And they were of the same height," said Black.

        Continue reading below ↓
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        "So we started to look at Tony Bishop."

        On Sunday, Bishop had 27 points and 10 rebounds to power the Bolts to a 101-95 win over Magnolia and on the verge of advancing to the best-of-seven finals.

        Game 4 is set Wednesday.

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        PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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