The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has lifted its lifetime ban on Puerto Rican player Renaldo Balkman.
(PBA) Commissioner Willie Marcial said in a statement released to the media Tuesday that it was a collective decision.
“He wrote a letter of appeal then personally appeared in my office. But I didn’t decide just based on that. I solicited the thoughts of Commissioner Chito Salud and Arwind Santos. Both gave their thumbs up for the lifting of the ban,” said Marcial.
“Balkman was apologetic and gave assurance for his behavior on and off the court. He has matured since the incident now that he’s 33.”
Balkman, who is presently playing for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League, has expressed regret for choking Santos during an intense game between Petron Blaze (now San Miguel Beer) and Alaska in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.
Salud slapped Balkman with lifetime ban and a P250,000 fine for the offense.
Balkman can now play in the import laden PBA Season 43 Commissioner’s Cup that starts on April 22.
But San Miguel Beer, the team that owns the rights of first refusal on Balkman, said that it is not sure if it will sign the Puerto Rican since they already have the 6’9 Troy Gillenwater as standby import.
“I still don’t know what will happen and what is the situation now after Balkman’s lifetime ban has been lifted. At the same time, I’m not the coach of San Miguel Beer when that incident happened,” San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
But Austria said that he is happy for Balkman.
“I’m so happy for him because everybody should be given a second chance.”