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PBA gives Balkman green light to play again

Renaldo Balkman just got a clearance to play again in the PBA. ABL (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The PBA fans may get to feel the "Balkmania" again.

The league officially lifted a lifetime ban given to former San Miguel import Renaldo Balkman on Tuesday.

Commissioner Willie Marcial decided to lift the ban following a consultation with Former Commissioner Chito Salud and Arwind Santos.

"[Balkman] wrote a letter of appeal [and] 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 in a statement.

It can be recalled that Salud imposed a lifetime ban plus a hefty PHP250,000 fine on Balkman following the latter's meltdown in a 2013 PBA Commissioner's Cup game between the Beermen, then known as the Petron Blaze Boosters, and the Alaska Aces.

Balkman vented his ire at the referees and even pushed Ronald Tubid before holding Arwind Santos' neck, which became a hot topic overnight.

Balkman apologized for the said gesture and quickly patched things up with Santos and Tubid only for Salud to deliver the executioner's ax on the former NBA player.

However, the six-foot-eight forward-center has shown glimpses of good manner during his stint with Alab in the ABL, which somehow prompted Marcial to revisit the said ban.

"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," Marcial continued.

"I trust that he has learned his lesson and has become a better person and a more disciplined athlete. Good luck to him," added Salud.

With that said, Balkman is cleared to play for the upcoming PBA Commissioner's Cup starting on April 22.

SMB still holds the rights for him, although the team, barring any surprise move, has already tapped the services of KBL star Troy Gillenwater for the mid-season conference.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno