PBA: Balkman set to join San Miguel Beer

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2018 03:40 PM

Renaldo Balkman file photo. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – After a superb stint with Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), Renaldo Balkman has found his way back to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

The fiery import will join the San Miguel Beermen, five years after he last played for the franchise back when they were under the Petron Blaze banner.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria confirmed to ABS-CBN News that Balkman will begin practicing with the Beermen on Tuesday, and he will be their import when the defending PBA Commissioner's Cup champions take on the Alaska Aces on Saturday in Dumaguete.

"He will be our import next game," Austria said in a text message.

Balkman memorably played for Petron Blaze in the 2013 PBA Commissioner's Cup, a stint that ended in controversy when he put his hands around Arwind Santos's neck during a testy game – incidentally, also against Alaska.

He was banned for life and fined P250,000. In March, however, the ban was lifted by commissioner Willie Marcial with support from former commissioner Chito Narvasa.

Balkman, who helped Alab Pilipinas win the ABL championship, will replace the ineffective Troy Gillenwater who went 0-2 as San Miguel's import.

Balkman averaged 24.9 points, 11.84 rebounds, and 1.68 blocks per game for Alab Pilipinas, and won co-Defensive Player of the Year honors.

He returned to the Philippines on Monday "after a much needed rest," according to player agent Sheryl Reyes.

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