It’s been a rough start to the Commissioner’s Cup championship defense of the San Miguel Beermen. The young guns of Meralco trounced them in their first game and they lost a close match to Rain or Shine. The inclusion of both a new import and star rookie Christian Standhardinger isn’t going as smoothly as plan.
The Beermen needed to change their approach to keep their championship aspirations afloat. Enter Renaldo Balkman.
A few months ago, the PBA lifted their lifetime ban on Balkman, opening up the opportunity for the versatile forward to return to the league. The speculations back then was that as soon as Balkman wrapped up his campaign in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), he would make his way to back to his former team, San Miguel (formerly the Petron Blaze Boosters).
The speculations were proved correct when Balkman’s agent, Sheryl Reyes tweeted out Balkman’s comeback to the PBA.
This is it .. the much awaited comeback #confirmed the cat is out the bag Renaldo Balkman will be the next import of Smb .. he will be seen at practice tom 🔥💯💋 #miraclesdohappen #journeybegins pic.twitter.com/PufumqiWzH
— Sheryl Sanchez Reyes (@FemaleAgentSR) May 15, 2018
That tweet came a nearly 24 hours after she tweeted out a photo of Balkman back in the country.
After a much needed rest his back in town 🔥💯💋 pic.twitter.com/o5CEi73qx2
— Sheryl Sanchez Reyes (@FemaleAgentSR) May 14, 2018
According to Reyes, Balkman will be joining the Beermen’s practice tomorrow.
This most likely signals the end of Troy Gillenwater’s run with San Miguel. He averaged 15 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games. In his last game, Gillenwater was ejected in the second quarter for making contact with an official.
The Beermen desperately need the production of Balkman. His versatility means he can play as any of the front court positions of San Miguel. He’s a plug and play kind of player that can play in any San Miguel line-up. Balkman can slot in at forward next to June Mar Fajardo or Christian Standhardinger. He can also play the center position, the spot he owned with his ABL team, Alab Pilipinas. He’s used to playing off the ball and is a menace defensively.
Balkman averaged 24.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.6 blocks per game in 25 games for Alab. Balkman won Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the ABL as he led his team to the championship.