Manila, Philippines – After hours of waiting, PBA commissioner Atty. Angelico Salud has released the verdict, Petron import Renaldo Balkman has been banned from playing in the PBA and meted a fine of P250,000.00 for his actions last Friday when his team lost to the Alaska Aces.
In that game, Balkman placed his hands on teammate Arwind Santos and appeared to be on the verge of choking the former FEU star.
Below is the Official Statement of PBA Commissioner Salud:
“For initiating threatening physical contact with a referee followed by a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron team mates and superiors, including head coach and assistant coaches, amounting to blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ballclub, the League, the fans and his host country, import player Renald Balkman is hereby meted the following penalties:
- Ban from playing in the Philippine Basketball Association; and
- A fine of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pesos (P250,000.00)
In arriving at this decision, I took into consideration Balkman’s track record as a player, including the head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and his altercation with the bench of the Aces during a pre-season game in Cebu City. I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him. Stiff as it maybe, this decision upholds the tenets of contextual accountability and the over-all interest of the League and the fans.
I do encourage passion for the game but I also want to firmly instill a culture of accountability among our players. If one does something that violates the rules and norms of sportsmanship and decent behaviour, he will be made accountable.
The value of accountability is important for me to uphold at all times. I think it is key to this League’s continued success, the development of our player’s maturity and to their role as models to our fans, especially the youth.
Asked on whether the penalties handed out were too harsh, the good commissioner simply replied: “Had to do it.” (Brian Yalung)
Renaldo Balkman Banned for Life from PBA, Fined
By: Waylon Galvez
Games on Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:15 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Meralco
7:30 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Talk ’N Text
Petron Blaze tried to put up a united front for its embattled import Renaldo Balkman when he appeared before PBA commissioner Chito Salud yesterday.
Head coach Olsen Racela was even there and so were the Petron players with whom he had altercation with, including Arwind Santos, who he almost strangled in the dying moments of their game against Alaska.
But in the end, no matter how much Balkman explained that his action was precipitated by the heat of the moment, the PBA commissioner handed him the severest and unprecedented sanction ever imposed on an import. Balkman was banned by the PBA for life, never again to play in the league. He was also fined P250,000.
This was after Balkman tried to appeal to the PBA for understanding, perhaps even mercy. He brought along some of his teammates to show everything was alright.
He admitted he messed up big time, but he said that was just because of his passion for the game of basketball. He repeatedly said he was not the type of person seen by thousands at the Smart Araneta Colisem and many thousands more on television trying to choke Santos.
But the PBA was apparently unmoved and imposed the sanction, saying it was disappointed with the player and called his behavior “aberrant.”
Salud said this was the first time he has seen such conduct by an import, where he fought with his teammates, team officials including the assistant and head coaches, and referees, in a weird sequence of events that left the crowd stunned.
In handing down the verdict, Salud issued the following statement:
“For initiating threatening physical contact with a referee followed by a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron teammates and superiors, including the head coach and assistant coaches, amounting to a blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ballclub, the league, the fans and his host country, import-player Renaldo Balkman is herby meted the following penalties:
Ban from playing in the PBA; and A fine of P250,000
“In arriving at this decision, I took into consideration Balkman’s track record as a player, including the head-butting incident during the FIBA-Americas game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and his altercation with the bench of the Alaska Aces during a pre-season game in Cebu City. I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him. Stiff as it may be, this decision upholds the tenets of contextual accountability and the overall interest of the league and the fans.”
With him as import, Petron won five straight games and with this record, and, had Balkman escaped the ban, it was unlikely the Blaze will send the 6-6 import home.
With the banning of Balkman, Petron is reportedly eyeing former Barako Bull import Rodney White as replacement.
The Boosters are hoping the new import will arrive since they will be meeting streaking Rain or Shine on Saturday in an out-of-town game.
What Balkman did was similar to the 1997 NBA incident when Latrell Sprewell choked coach PJ Carlessimo during a Golden State Warriors practice. For that, he was meted a 68-game suspension.
Meantime, San Miguel Corporation accepted PBA’s decision to ban Balkman for life, and at the same time apologized to the PBA and its legion of fans.
In its statement, San Miguel said: “We do not condone his actions. The mandate of our basketball operations has always been to entertain basketball fans and foster camaraderie and a spirit of healthy competition. We pride ourselves in having great teams who serve as good role models to the youth and community.”
“Unfortunately, the incident has been blown out of proportion and has damaged our good name. Already, news of the incident has spread throughout the country and overseas through traditional and online media,” said San Miguel through one of its media officer, Jon Hernandez.
“Our reputation is of utmost importance to us because we have worked hard to cultivate this good name through the decades. But it takes only one unfortunate incident like this to undo all our efforts,” he added.
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