ITS corporate image obviously affected by the series of incidents that led to the lifetime ban on Petron import Renaldo Balkman from the PBA, San Miguel Corp. stated on Monday it will "re-evaluate" its position as the only remaining original member of Asia’s pioneering pro league.
In a statement, the organization said it accepted the decision imposed by the league on the 6-foot-6 Balkman for the unsportsmanlike conduct he showed in Petron’s Commissioner’s Cup game against Alaska last week.
But while the company doesn’t condone the action of the eccentric import, the organization admitted the "incident has been blown out of proportion, and has damaged our good name."
“As such given the possible long-term effect of this incident to the San Miguel organization’s image, and in consideration of our need to preserve our good reputation, management has decided to re-evaluate the company's participation in the PBA,” part of the statement read.
The position of the corporation on the controversy came out following an emergency meeting involving SMC top management officials.
Asked if the statement meant the conglomerate is considering a pullout from the PBA of SMC teams San Mig Coffee, Barangay Ginebra, and Petron, a top Petron team official told Spin.ph, "just read between the lines."
SMC insisted the unfortunate incident has harmed the good name and reputation the company has nurtured through its long years of involvement not only in the league, but in Philippine sports in general.
“Our reputation is of utmost importance to us because we have worked hard to cultivate this good name through the decades. But it takes only one unfortunate incident like this to undo all our efforts,” the statement read.
The corporation, though, apologized to basketball fans and the PBA for the confusion caused by the unsportsmanlike conduct of the 28-year-old Balkman.
“We do not condone his actions,” it said of the former member of the Puerto Rican national team. “The mandate of our basketball operations has always been to entertain basketball fans and foster camaraderie and a spirit of healthy competition. We pride ourselves in having great teams which serve as good role models to the youth and community.”
In parting, SMC said, “Moving forward, we believe sports is a pillar of Philippine society and we will continue to support it and Filipino athletes in general in meaningful ways in and out of the PBA.”