Balkman is back

May 15, 2018

The San Miguel Beermen have tapped the services of Renaldo Balkman as replacement for Troy Gillenwater after suffering back-to-back defeats at the start of their title-retention bid in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

San Miguel team manager Gee Abanilla announced the change on Tuesday, giving Balkman a chance to not only help the Beermen recover from their flat start but also redeem himself after being handed a lifetime ban in 2013 for choking teammate Arwind Santos during a game.

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial had lifted the ban in late-March, opening the door for Balkman's return.
"SMC has decided to take a different direction and tap the services of Balkman in lieu of Gillenwater," Abanilla said. "We are currently working on his document in time for our next game."

Barring any hitches, Balkman will make his debut on Saturday when San Miguel takes on Alaska in a Petron Saturday Special game in Dumaguete City.

The former NBA player is coming off a stint in the ASEAN Basketball League where he helped Alab Pilipinas win the title.

Balkman averaged 24.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.6 blocks while sharing the Defensive Player of the Year award with former Blackwater import Chris Charles.

Gillenwater was replaced after inconsistent showings for the Beermen, averaging 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in losses to the Meralco Bolts and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

Before being given the pink slip, Gillenwater was fined P20,000 for his ejection in Sunday's 123-119 overtime loss to Rain or Shine for bumping referee Rey Yante in the first half. (JT)