Balkman comes full circle, rejoins Beermen in PBA
Once the reviled villain, Renaldo Balkman has finally come full circle and rejoins the San Miguel Beermen in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Balkman, who returned to the country on Monday, replaced Troy Gillenwater as import. The Beermen went 0-2 with Gillenwater in tow.
“SMB has decided to take a different direction and tap the services of Balkman in lieu of Gillenwater. We are currently working on his document in time for our next game,” said SMB team manager Gee Abanilla in a test message to INQUIRER.net.
This completes Balkman’s road to redemption after initially being banned for life in 2013 for choking his teammate Arwind Santos.
He has since gone on to rebuild himself, earning the fans’ adoration when he played for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas and led the squad to the 2018 ASEAN Basketball League championship.
Balkman averaged 24.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.7 blocks in his foray in the regional league, where he earned co-Defensive Player of the Year honors with Singapore’s Chris Charles.
It will be a whole different San Miguel team Balkman is returning to, with only five players from the old Petron squad remaining in the team.
Since 2013, June Mar Fajardo has become a four-time PBA MVP, while working seamlessly with Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter to form a formidable championship squad. Chico Lanete was the last of the five still with the squad.
Balkman will have his hands full in his return as San Miguel eyes to finally get things going beginning Saturday against Alaska in Dumaguete.
Gillenwater normed 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in his two games for the San Miguel, with his last game ending in unceremonious fashion after he got tossed for bumping a referee late in the first half of the Beermen’s 123-119 overtime loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Sunday.