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    Balkman rejoins San Miguel in bid to complete unfinished PBA business from 2013

    May 15, 2018
    Renaldo Balkman will start practicing with the Beermen on Wednesday. Jerome Ascano

    NO Renaldo Balkman showed up for San Miguel Beer's practice on Tuesday.

    It turned out the delay would only be for a day.

    The talented but temperamental import is set to rejoin the Beermen on Wednesday in a bid to finally complete a business he left unfinished five years ago after he was handed a life ban for choking then Petron teammate Arwind Santos.

    Balkman, the former NBA player, will take over the place of Troy Gillenwater, who no longer showed up for the team's practice two days after he was ejected during San Miguel's PBA Commissioner's Cup game against Rain or Shine in Antipolo City.

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      "SMC has decided to take a different direction and tap the services of Balkman in lieu of Gillenwater," said SMB team manager Gee Abanilla.

      Abanilla added the team is working on Balkman's papers to pave the way for his season debut on Saturday in a game against Alaska in Dumaguete.

      Balkman is coming off a sucessful stint with Alab Pilipinas, which he guided to the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) title in tandem with Barangay Ginebra's resident import Justine Brownlee.

      It was during the middle of his ABL campaign that Balkman's ban was lifted by the PBA after the Puerto Rican formally wrote the league an apology letter and at the same time, asked for reconsideration on his position.

      Commissioner Willie Marcial later consented to lift the sanction after first getting the blessing of former league chief Chito Salud, under whose watch Balkman's choking incident with Santos took place.

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      Though it still owned the playing rights to Balkman, San Miguel initially opted to tap Gillenwater, who was already in the country as early as the Philippine Cup finals.

      But following a 0-2 start in their campaign, the defending champions began to weigh their options about whether to keep Gillenwater or not.

      It didn't help his case, either, when he got ejected in the second quarter of the Beermen's game against Rain or Shine last Sunday.

      Just as the match was unfolding, Balkman quietly slipped to the country.

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      Renaldo Balkman will start practicing with the Beermen on Wednesday. Jerome Ascano
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