Balkman readies PBA comeback


Renaldo Balkman is willing and ready to return to San Miguel Beer if called for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup next month.

The former SMB reinforcement confirmed waiting for that call up from the team after showing support in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup semi-finals late Saturday night at the MoA Arena in Pasay City.

“It’s up in the air right now. I don’t know. I don’t know if I will play but I just got some things to do here in the Philippines. Let’s see what’s next for me. I’m just here, working out, getting my body healthy and staying in shape for the call,” said the 6-foot-8 Balkman watching SMB’s 100-88 Game 1 win over Phoenix Pulse.

“Whatever that call is, I’ll be ready.”

Balkman served as an import for SMB (formerly Petron) in 2013 Commissioner’s Cup and came back last year when he averaged 28.07 points, 12.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

His return, however, was foiled by his friend and resident Ginebra import Justin Brownlee as the Kings went to dethrone the former mid-season conference champions Beermen in six games.

Whatever that call is, I’ll be ready.

The 34-year old Balkman also lost the Best Import award to Brownlee.

After his SMB stint last year, Balkman remained connected with the San Miguel franchise after being tapped as the main import of the defending champion San Miguel–Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League.

Due to a couple of team injuries at different points of the season though, Balkman and Alab failed to defend their title following a shocking 0-2 sweep from rival Hong Kong Eastern in the quarterfinals.

Balkman netted 25.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.2 blocks for Alab this season.

SMB coach Leo Austria could not confirm Balkman’s return, saying the team has not talked about their upcoming mid-season conference preparation in order to stay focused in their fifth-straight Philippine Cup title campaign.

“We haven’t discussed it yet. Maybe we will talk about it once we get to the Finals,” said Austria. “For now, we’re just focusing in the semi-finals against Phoenix.”