Salud calls for stricter vetting process for imports
MANILA, Philippines – In the wake of the bizarre choking incident involving Petron import Renaldo Balkman, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Chito Salud called on the teams to be more strict in vetting their imports.
Balkman went berserk following the Blaze Boosters’ loss to the Alaska Aces last Friday and shoved referees, assistant coaches as well as his teammates. His meltdown reached its peak when he choked teammate Arwind Santos.
The former New York Knick and Denver Nugget was slapped with a lifetime ban and fined P250,000 by the league on Monday.
In an interview on ANC’s “Top Story,” Salud said Balkman’s actions was disrespectful not only to the PBA but to the game of basketball.
“It was quite bizarre,” he said of the incident. “Combined, all the acts of Mr. Balkman amounted to an utter disrespect for the game, the league, the fans and the host country.”
“I don’t think there’s a place in the PBA for such a behavior, or in any sport for that matter.”
Teams will now have to be more strict when taking in imports following this incident, he said.
“The process of vetting imports has to be more stringent,” said Salud. “That is the task of our member teams.”
“They have to be more thorough in their background checks. It’s not just the skill and the height, but also the psychological make-up of the import,” he added.
Salud revealed that he reminded Balkman and the rest of the PBA imports of the league’s rules on decorum during their orientation prior to the season.
“Apparently, he (Balkman) forgot that one when he lost his mind,” said the commissioner.