MANILA, Philippines – Petron Blaze import Renaldo Balkman accepted the lifetime ban given to him by the Philippine Basketball Association and once again apologized to his teammates and fans.
Balkman was banned for life by the league and fined P250,000 for his meltdown in a game against the Alaska Aces on March 8, wherein he ended up choking teammate Arwind Santos.
On his Twitter account Monday night, Balkman said he “accept(s) all responsibilities for my actions while playing an intense game.”
"I have truly enjoyed my time here playing in the Philippines," he said.
Balkman again apologized to Santos, calling him "a person I truly respect and would never intentionally harm."
"My actions were irresponsible," he added.
"I respect the Philippine Basketball Association and the Petron Blaze organization. This situation will never happen again. It’s a lesson learned," Balkman said.
He also thanked the PBA fans and his teammates “who have shown me so much support during this time.”
Santos, along with the other members of the Petron Blaze Boosters, accompanied Balkman when he met with PBA Commissioner Chito Salud in the league office Monday.
The organization had hoped the NBA veteran will be given a second chance, but Salud meted out a stiff punishment, saying Balkman had been disrespectful not only to the PBA and its fans, but also to the game of basketball and to the Philippines as well.
It remains to be seen who Balkman's replacement will be. The former New York Knick and Denver Nugget averaged a shade over 28 points per game and led the Boosters to a 5-2 record, good for second in the Commissioner’s Cup.