By Jonas Terrado
Renaldo Balkman said winning the PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown would mean a lot after San Miguel Beer gained a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Finals with another blowout win over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Balkman had 28 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and three blocks despite sustaining a cut on his eyebrow courtesy of an inadvertent hit by Greg Slaughter as the Beermen turned a see-saw first half into a 132-94 rout of the Kings to move halfway closer toward capturing the title.
While he won the ASEAN Basketball League championship with Alab Pilipinas earlier this year, claiming the PBA crown is something he wants badly.
“This is what I want,” Balkman said after the third game of the series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. “I won in the ABL, but this would mean something to me. And by any way necessary, I’m going to try to get this W.”
The former NBA player didn’t go into detail but there’s no need for a rocket scientist to figure out his sentiments.
Balkman was banned by the PBA in 2013 for choking Arwind Santos late in a game, but was reinstated in March after showing good conduct in his ABL stint with Alab.
He also dealt with a knee injury that prompted him to miss time playing club duties in his native Puerto Rico.
But unknown to many, Balkman also led a relief effort after two major hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico late last year. In fact, one US television station reported how he got trapped for 10 hours during Hurricane Irma – the second storm that ravaged the Caribbean nation.
Though getting two lopsided victories which began when San Miguel tied the series with a 134-109 in Sunday’s Game 2, Balkman refused to see both results as a momentum-changer.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant but we got to take it one game at a time,” he said. “If we keep playing like that, I would get what I want.”