PETRON star forward Arwind Santos said he feels badly for his teammate Renaldo Balkman upon hearing the news that the 6-6 NBA veteran has been banned for life from the PBA.
“Ow? Talaga?” was Santos’ initial reaction when Spin.ph broke to him the news on Commisioner Chito Salud’s decision to ban Balkman from the league and hit him with a P250,000 fine for his attack on Santos, his teammates and coaches and the referees on Friday night.
“Ngayon, naaawa ako sa naging desisyon kay Balkman. Di ko alam ano pinahihiwatig ng Diyos,” Santos added. “Lahat kami (Petron players and coaching staff) nagi-isip ng positive na mabigyan sana siya ng second chance.”
The former FEU King Tamaraw said on hindsight, he wondered if his decision to step in and try to pacify the former New York Knick was the right one to do.
“Sana di ko na lang inawat, pero...di ko alam,” added the 31-year-old Petron forward, who was shoved and later on, choked by Balkman during the waning seconds of Petron’s 73-83 loss to Alaska Friday before a stunned crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Nevertheless, Santos hopes that Balkman’s replacement would be up to task and help the team weather this storm ahead of the Boosters' clash with Rain or Shine in Panabo, Davao del Norte on Saturday.
“Sana maging okay yung import na papalit,” added Santos.
The 28-year-old Balkman’s shortened PBA career is highlighted by averages of 25 points, 13.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.7 blocks and 2.0 steals to help the Boosters to solo third spot in the standings with their 5-2 record.