Tanduay Alab Pilipinas will parade new faces in their 2017-18 ASEAN Basketball League campaign as the Philippine-based franchise tapped Ginebra star Justin Brownlee and the controversial Renaldo Balkman as World Imports, team owner Charlie Dy confirmed through Instagram Monday.
Brownlee and Balkman are replacing American big men Reggie Okosa (released last December 20) and Ivan Johnson (injury; back spasms).
Blackwater Elite import Henry Walker was the first choice of Alab, but they surprised many by picking Balkman, who remains known to PBA fans as the one who choked Arwind Santos when they played together in Petron back in 2011.
The six-foot-eight, 33-year-old forward, a former player of the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets in the NBA, last played for Reales De La Vega in Baloncesto Super Nacional in his hometown of Puerto Rico.
On the other hand, the six-foot-five Brownlee is coming off a championship run with Barangay Ginebra in the 2017 PBA Governor’s Cup last October, his second consecutive title with the Filipino pro league’s most popular team.
The sweet-shooting 29-year-old from Tifton, Georgia posted norms of 23.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists to help the Barangay finish off budding rivals Meralco Bolts in a classic seven-game Finals series.
The two cagers’ arrival couldn’t be a timely one, as Tanduay Alab is currently lying low in the team standings with a 1-3 win-loss record.
Both Balkman and Brownlee are expected to make their ABL debut this Wednesday, January 3, when Tanduay Alab takes on the visiting Westports Malaysia Dragons at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.