Linggo, Enero 28, 2018

Renaldo Balkman - A Great Rebound

As this blog tries to establish a tradition of honoring great comebacks of a team or player who has epitomized the principle of rebounding from a slump or from hitting the rock bottom (at least in Philippine hoops scenes) - hence the title - Board Crasher, let's pay tribute to a man who has experienced down fall but did not allow himself to stay at the bottom and instead has shown the Pinoy basketball world that he deserves another chance.

This guy is the ever energetic Renaldo Balkman.  We all know what happened on that fateful day of March 8, 2013 during a game against Alaska Aces which has given him a lifetime ban from playing in the PBA.  So we'll talk about it that much.  Instead let's check out what has happened to him after that.

After leaving the Philippines Balkman played for several international ball clubs in different leagues including a short stint with Dallas Mavericks.  He has played with  Guaiqueríes de Margarita of the Liga Profesional de Baloncesto Brujos de Guayama of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional Halcones Rojos Veracruz of Mexico,  Capitanes de Arecibo for the 2014 BSN season. 

Image result for renaldo balkman

We crossed paths with Balkman anew during the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain where his Los Gallos defeated Gilas Pilipinas which also shattered the Philippines' dream of advancing to the next round.  While he was virtually a non factor only scoring 2 points in that game it was very interesting to see him bang bodies again with his then former teammate Junemar Fajardo

Image result for renaldo balkman puerto rico 

After the 2014 FIBA World Cup we never heard of him again.  Until Tanduay Alab Pilipinas happened.  He got a call up to play again in the Philippines this time representing the country in the on - going Asean Basketball League playing along with another prolific import Justin Brownlee.  Renaldo once again is with in Pinoy hoops fans' consciousness.  At first it's like an awkward meeting of the ex'es for the first time.  But the awkwardness swiftly vanished after Balkman started showing a different version of himself from what the Filipino basketball lovers used to know of him.  Very evident that he has been more composed with out losing the intensity.  Something that has made him endeared anew to the public.  

His arrival has been somewhat messianic as well for Alab.  With JBL32 and him the team has won 4 times in 5 games.  And while Brownlee appears to be the bigger crowd drawer it's a non issue at all with him, talking about humility.  There are reports that Alab's sponsor Tanduay was at first lobbying for Henry Walker instead of Balkman as their replacement import, but coaching staff stood firm with their choice and so far he's proving the coaching staff right as he post double - double performances;

Photo from ABL

Truly Renaldo has shown that one cannot be defined by his past but by how he'll move forward after a setback.  And for that I express my admiration to this great basketball player.  I relish the chance of him playing for our country for all we know we may play him again but as an opponent.  
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