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PBA: Ross praises Balkman

San Miguel's Renaldo Balkman celebrates with his teammates during the PBA Commissioner's Cup match against TNT at Mall of Arena. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

San Miguel’s Renaldo Balkman celebrates with his teammates during the PBA Commissioner’s Cup match against TNT at Mall of Arena. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

by Jonas Terrado

Chris Ross praised import Renaldo Balkman for providing the calming presence amid a pair of heated exchanges that marred defending PBA Commissioner’s Cup champion San Miguel’s 99-94 win over TNT KaTropa Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

While some continue to remember Balkman for choking Arwind Santos late in a game five years ago, Ross said the former NBA player has been the one who has urged the Beermen to keep their heads cool during the hotly-contested affair of the flagship teams of San Miguel Corporation and the Manny V. Pangilinan group.

In fact, Balkman sat in the first row watching the ejections of Santos and TNT’s Tony Semerad due to a skirmish with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter.

“He is one of our calming forces,” said Ross. “He calms us down like whenever something gets going like that, he brings us and let’s us know that we got to chill and just play the game.

“He’s been around a lot of situations and he’s one of the cooler heads that are trying to help us to stay mellow,” added Ross.

It also helped that Balkman delivered for San Miguel in a crucial win that boosted its chances of not only making the quarterfinals but also a second straight crown this season.

Balkman finished with 43 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and six blocks as the Beermen recovered from a stinging midweek defeat against the GlobalPort Batang Pier.

San Miguel improved to 4-4 for a share of fifth place at presstime with Magnolia and GlobalPort.

“Talagang pinanindigan niya yung sinabi niya na ‘we will win, we will win,’” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. “He came out really strong and really determined to win.”

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