MANILA, Philippines—Arwind Santos was just trying to pacify an exasperated import Renaldo Balkman on Wednesday night in Petron’s 73-83 loss to Alaska.
Yet Balkman’s temper flared even more, shoving teammate Ronald Tubid and then shockingly wrapped his hand around the Santos’ neck.
In the end, though, the emotions were set aside for the benefit of the team as Santos was even the first one to reach out and apologize.
“Maikli lang (usapan kanina), nagsorry lang kami sa isa’t isa. Una na akong lumapit, di ko inisip kung sinong mali, para sa team (Our talk was quick. We just said sorry to each other. I was the first one who approached him, I didn’t mind who’s wrong, it’s for the team),” Santos told the reporters after the game.
“Mainit daw sya, di na daw nya control emotion nya (He said he’s hot-tempered, he said he can’t control his emotions),” Santos added.
Balkman, though, also apologized to each and everyone in the team, according to head coach Olsen Racela.
“It was better than a speech, inisa isa nya kami lahat,” Racela said. “Good thing was he knows his mistakes and he said sorry to us and his team mates.”
After averaging a little over 28 points, Balkman was held to just six on Friday night, missing all but three of his 16 shots and all four freethrow attempts.
And that’s what Racela thinks led to Balkman’s shocking show of frustration.
“That’s how much these players want to win. Yun ‘yung passion sa laro. Ayaw na ayaw nya (Balkman) kasing natatalo. Frustrated sya kasi di maganda laro n’ya tapos talo na kami,” said Racela.
When asked if Balkman is staying after the incident, Racela said “yes.” If there will be sanctions, though, he has yet to discuss it with the management.
Santos, though, is hopeful his won’t affect his team’s chemisty. The Boosters are at third place with a 5-2 record, their best start in recent history.
“Wala naman gustong makaapekto samin yun. Our team is like family,” Santos said. “Oo naman (andun parin yung trust).”
“I told them I know how much all of you guys want to win. The true character will come out the next game on how to bounce back,” said Racela.
Meanwhile, Balkman is set to appear before PBA Commissioner Chito Salud at his office for his actions.