Renaldo Balkman has arrived in Manila to rejoin San Miguel Alab Pilipinas as one of their imports when they open their title defense in the upcoming ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).

Balkman, who was one of last season’s World Import Most Valuable Player contenders will be returning the Philippine club, along with fellow Puerto Rican Peter John Ramos.

Balkman was instrumental in Alab Pilipinas’ championship run last season, where he averaged 24.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. He was awarded Co-Defensive Player of the Year along with the Singapore Slingers’ Christien Charles.

The former six-year NBA veteran joined the Philippine club four games into the season together with fellow Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) import Justin Brownlee as they replaced Ivan Johnson and Reggie Okosa, who only managed to help the team win one game in four tries.

The duo of Balkman and Brownlee went on to lead Alab Pilipinas to win 13 of their next 16 games, finishing in third place after the elimination round and through to the title finish against Mono Vampire Basketball Club of Thailand.

Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag welcomes the return of Balkman, while also confirming the addition of PJ Ramos, which he deemed vital as the team looks to go back-to-back.

“We are very excited to have PJ Ramos and the returning Renaldo Balkman with the Alab family for the upcoming ABL season,” shared Alapag. “They are two veteran guys who bring quality leadership and experience to the team. PJ’s dominant presence in the middle and Balk’s versatility will be keys for us as we try to defend our championship.”

The defending ABL Champions are expected to try and retain Justin Brownlee as their third reinforcement once his season wraps up with Ginebra, while keeping Local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks Jr. for at least one more season before he makes a move for the PBA.

Follow the author on Twitter at @kicksmvp.

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