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Playing for Alapag a ‘blessing’ for Balkman

Jimmy Alapag’s head coaching duties over Renaldo Balkman may have just officially begun on Wednesday but the seeds were planted years before the two were on the same team together.

The two had a conversation back in the 2014 Fiba World Cup when the Philippines faced Puerto Rico in the group stages, three years before Alapag ended up calling the shots Alab Pilipinas, which tapped Balkman as its new import, at the ASEAN Basketball League.

Ronaldo Balkman had 17 points for good measure. Josh Albeda, ABS-CBN Sports
“When I saw him in Spain, he said ‘if you ever get to coaching and the door opens for me to come back to Manila, I’m willing to play for you,’” said Alapag after Alab dispatched Westports Malaysia, 90-79, Wednesday night in the controversial import’s first game.

In a sense, Alapag gave Balkman a chance at redemption after the Puerto Rican international got banned from the PBA in 2013 after choking then Petron teammate Arwind Santos in a scuffle.

Balkman said having Alapag, the same man he defeated in Puerto Rico’s 77-73 victory over the Philippines back in the 2014 World Cup, as a coach was a blessing bestowed upon him.

“I played against him as a player, now he’s my coach. It’s a blessing for me to be given that chance,” said Balkman as he finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, and two blocks.

Author: Bong Lozada, Inquirer
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