PBA lifts lifetime ban on Renaldo Balkman

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PBA File photo

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) — Five years after being slapped with a lifetime ban by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Renaldo Balkman has been given the clearance for a comeback to the local pro league.

The PBA announced the news on its website Tuesday.

“He wrote a letter of appeal then personally appeared in my office. 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,” said Commisioner Willie Marcial in the website.

The 33-year-old was banned by then-Commissioner Chito Salud from playing in the PBA following a choking incident with then-Petron teammate Arwind Santos during a Commissioner’s Cup match between the Blaze Boosters and Alaska Aces in 2013.

Balkman was also fined P250,000 for his flagrant action.

According to the PBA website, Balkman's possible return could be as early as the 2018 Commissioner's Cup which starts on April 22.

The Blaze Boosters which is now known as the San Miguel Beermen have the rights of first refusal on Balkman.

The Puerto Rican is currently serving as an import for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League.