The Puerto Rican national attended his first practice with the Beermen at the Acropolis Gym in Libis, and awkwardness never wafted through the air in his return as his teammates welcomed him with open arms.
This, even if the team that he will be playing for this time around has become completely different from the ones he had played with about half a decade ago, when San Miguel were still carrying the Petron Blaze Boosters brand.
“I feel great. It’s great to be back in the PBA. It took a long time, but I’m here,” said Balkman. “They’re a great group of guys, all the more positive. They welcomed me today.
“I’m happy to be here and be a part of them right now.”
Balkman’s return to San Miguel has always circled around being a second chance. However, the veteran globetrotter begs to differ, as he treats his comeback as more of a business where something has to be done.
“Everybody calls it a second chance. It’s just another job for me.
“I’ve been playing all over the world throughout my career. You know, I did what I did, in earlier years when I was young. But you know, I’m a little older now,” said Balkman.
“And since then, I’ve had several jobs. Even the job, like I said, in the ABL. But it’s just another job for me. I go out there and look into the future. I don’t look into the past,” pointed out the 33-year-old, who had memorable stints in the NBA.
That business? Winning a championship.
“The main goal here is for us to win another championship. And that’s what I’m here for,” said the newly-minted ASEAN Basketball League champion. “They’ve seen something in me that was positive, and they picked me.
“I’m trying to win another championship. That’s my main goal while I’m here.”
But of course, Balkman and SMB have their sights set on the task at hand, which is earning their first victory in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup, as they’ve been winless in their first two assignments in the conference.
They will have a chance on Saturday, May 19, as they battle the Alaska Aces in Dumaguete City. And for Balkman, a show is about to happen, like during San Miguel Alab Pilipinas’ playoff run. “We got a game on Saturday, and I’m gonna give you guys another show.
“Like I told y’all before, it’s showtime for me.”