Well, it’s sad to see one of the most effective imports in the current PBA Commissioner Cup going away because he got out of control while playing the game that he loved. It might be called intensity but in the age of Youtube and Twitter, his actions were indefensible. We have seen players brawling with opponent or even opposing fans but choking a teammate crosses the line and it made PBA watching borderline rated R. R for Renaldo Balkman.
I had high hopes for Petron and Balkman in this conference. Petron somehow dominated the pre-season and they have one of their best starts in years. Before the "historic" match, Petron was tied for first with their opponents the Alaska Aces. After the "crazy" incident, PBA Commissioner Chito Salud fined Balkman 250,000 pesos and he will never be allowed to play Asia's oldest professional basketball league.
The penalty was quiet harsh but I felt that somehow it was justified as PBA is one of the country's top entertainment shows. A lot of youngsters watch the games and seeing a big guy choke a teammate is not suitable for young ages. If the commissioner let it go, it might send a wrong message of tolerating violence inside the court. There are are lines that we should not cross. We cannot choke anyone in national TV unless we are talking about "professional" wrestling.
The Petron team is willing to give him another chance. I know how they feel as well. They just found a "perfect" import for them and now they have to look for a replacement. I do not know if they will make an appeal on behalf of the player but in a way, the team was penalized for not being able to contain their highly competitive import. Petron can move on and try to use the situation to galvanize the team but it could also break their momentum and once again lead them to underachieve. I am somehow rooting for them to bounce back but they need to find an identity that will define the team. Are they just going to be a bunch of underachievers or will they finally live up to their fan's expectations.
Carry on, Petron! Farewell, Renaldo Balkman!