PHILIPPINE Basketball Association commissioner Willie Marcial gave Balkman a reprieve, five years after he received a lifetime ban from the local pro league after an incident during a Petron Blaze-Alaska Milk game in 2013.
“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.
Salud, then the league commissioner, issued the lifetime ban over the incident that saw Balkman grab teammate Santos around the neck. The former New Year Knick and Denver Nugget was also slapped a fine of P250,000 for his flagrant misconduct.
“I trust that he has learned his lesson and has become a better person and a more disciplined athlete. Good luck to him,” said Salud.
Balkman has shown remorse for losing his temper and repeatedly expressing deep regrets for his action.
He’s currently playing with Alab Pilipinas in the ABL and surely hopes a second chance in the PBA.
“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,” said Marcial.
The reprieve opened the door for Balkman’s possible PBA comeback as early as the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup that fires off on April 22.
San Miguel Beer, his team (Petron Blaze) during his outrage, still enjoys the rights of first refusal on Balkman.
The incident occurred March 8, 2013 in a game eventually won by Alaska, 83-73.
With 26.7 seconds left in the game, Balkman—who was guarded by Alaska import Rob Dozier—tried to score from underneath the goal but missed. Looking for a foul, Balkman addressed the referees. When teammate Ronald Tubid tried to restrain him, the former NBA first round draft pick shoved his teammate. Arwind Santos then confronted Balkman who put his hands around Santos’ neck.
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