Photo by the PBA Media Bureau
NBA veteran can make PBA return as early as the Commissioner's Cup
The last time PBA fans saw Reynaldo Balkman play an actual PBA game, he grabbed then Petron Blaze Boosters teammate, Arwind Santos, by the neck as the two engaged in a heated argument. That was 5 years ago.
Balkman immediately apologized to Santos, to his team, and to the PBA and was slapped by a 250,000 Peso fine plus a lifetime ban by then PBA Commissioner Chito Salud.
Apparently, he has learned his lessons.
The lifetime ban on Reynaldo Balkman, who is currently playing for the San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the ABL, has been lifted by none other than Commissioner Willie Marcial. According to the commissioner, Balkman wrote him a letter of appeal and then personally appeared at the commissioner's office. However, Commissioner Marcial also said that he didn't decide merely on the basis of Balkman's statement. He sought the thoughts of former Commissioner Salud who handed the banishment and of course, Santos who was the victim of Balkman's tantrums. Fortunately, both Salud and Santos gave their support to Marcial's decision with Salud saying that he hopes Balkman has already learned his lessons and wishes him good luck.
As of now, Balkman is injured but according to Coach Jimmy Alapag, the possibility of a major injury has already been ruled out and that's a good news for Alab Pilipinas who won against the CLS Knights even after Balkman landed on a defender's foot. Balkman is said to have a Grade One sprain in his ankle.
At the age of 33, it should be expected that Balkman is now a better and more matured player than he was once 5 years ago. And given the fact that he averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 7 games with Petron- now known as the San Miguel Beermen, any PBA team will benefit from getting Balkman as their import for the Commissioner's Cup.