Balkman back in Manila as Austria says import change possible
MANILA, Philippines – Renaldo Balkman is back in town and the clamor for an import change for the San Miguel Beermen is just growing louder.
Sheryl Reyes, Balkman's sports agent in the Philippines, posted a photo on her Twitter account showing the Puerto Rican import's return to the country.
"After a much-needed rest, [he's] back in town," wrote Reyes.
Balkman, who helped Alab Pilipinas win it all in the ASEAN Basketball League, is touted to replace current San Miguel import Troy Gillenwater after the Beermen lost their first two games in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Gillenwater was ejected late in the first half of San Miguel's 119-123 overtime loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters following physical contact with a game official, and the Beermen are not impressed.
"Compared to the other imports, we're not impressed. But 'yung first quarter, very impressive, first quarter lang. But he should last at least 40 minutes per game but nakikita natin kanina na he's so frustrated dahil what he experienced right now is a different ball game dahil in-underestimate nila yata 'yung PBA eh," said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria.
(Compared to the other imports, we're not impressed. But his first quarter, it was very impressive. But he should last at least 40 minutes per game but we're seeing that he's so frustrated because what he's experiencing right now is a different ball game. They probably underestimated the PBA.)
Gillenwater finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds, an assist, and a steal against two turnovers in nearly 14 minutes of action.
"And I keep talking to them that we are in a different level, the PBA. The only [thing] lacking in Filipino basketball is the height, but in terms of skills and in terms of talent, know-how, technical know-how, we're at par with the top teams in the big leagues, that's why nasu-surprise sila (they're surprised)."
Austria added that they will evaluate the team heading into San Miguel's game against the Alaska Aces on Saturday, May 19, in Dumaguete City. He admitted there's a chance that an import change will be done.
"There's a possibility, but I'm not sure dahil we don't know yet dahil sabi ko nga sa inyo, pag-uusapan pa namin," the head coach said.
(There's a possibility, but I'm not sure because we don't know yet since like I said, we'll still talk about it.)
If Balkman reunites with the Beermen, it will be the first time since 2013 that he will step foot again in the PBA after he was banned by the league for choking teammate Arwind Santos.
The ban was lifted last March by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial following consultations from parties concerned. – with reports from Beatrice Go / Rappler.com