MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Renaldo Balkman may just find his way back to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after the league confirmed on Tuesday that his lifetime ban has been lifted.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told ABS-CBN News that former PBA commissioner Chito Salud has already given the thumbs up with regards to lifting the ban on Balkman.
Gerry Ramos of Spin first reported the development.
"He wrote a letter of appeal, then personally appeared in my office," Marcial said. "But I didn't decide just based on that. I solicited the thoughts of commissioner Chito Narvasa and Arwind Santos."
"Both gave their thumbs up for the lifting of the ban," he added.
Salud, meanwhile, said: "I trust that he has learned his lesson and has become a better person and a more disciplined athlete. Good luck to him."
Balkman, who is currently playing for Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), was banned in 2013 after he attempted to choke Santos, who was then his teammate in Petron, during a Commissioner's Cup game against the Alaska Aces.
He was also fined P250,000 for the incident.
Since returning to the Philippines with Alab, however, Balkman has repeatedly expressed his remorse and sought to mend fences with Santos. He also has expressed a desire to return to the PBA, something that is now possible.
Marcial said that Balkman has given his assurance regarding his behavior both on and off the court.
"He has matured since the incident, now that he's 33," said the commissioner.
San Miguel Beer still owns the right of first refusal for Balkman, but the Beermen have tapped Troy Gillenwater as their import for the upcoming Commissioner's Cup.
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