MANILA, Philippines – Renaldo Balkman exited the Araneta Coliseum court with one more scar than he entered it with on Wednesday night.
The victim of an inadvertent elbow from Greg Slaughter midway through the second quarter, Balkman suffered a deep cut above his left eye that needed to be stitched after the game.
But the prolific San Miguel import – who scored 28 points and grabbed 11 boards in Game 3 of their PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals series against Ginebra – was not too concerned about the gash.
"It's a war wound for me," said Balkman after helping San Miguel claim a 132-94 victory. "Gotta keep on fighting, man. I got a lot of wounds, but I'm all right."
He was just one of two SMB players to get bloodied on Wednesday. Balkman accidentally elbowed his own teammate, Chris Ross, late in the second quarter. Ross later joked that their import has "sharp elbows" as the hit opened up a gash about an inch long.
Both players went to a local hospital after the game, but Balkman stressed that they were "some fighters."
"A little war wound," he again said. "I'm okay. We just gotta get stitched up."
The new scar would not distract Balkman from his goal, which is to lead San Miguel to the title in the PBA Commissioner's Cup. Already a champion in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) with Alab Pilipinas, Balkman knows that winning a PBA crown will solidify his legacy and complete his redemption.
"I want it," he said of the championship. "I want it really bad. I want that championship. This one, I want."
"I won in the ABL, but I'm telling you guys – this is going to mean something to me. By whatever means necessary, I'm trying to get this W," he added.
As it stands, Balkman and the rest of San Miguel are just two victories away from retaining the Commissioner's Cup. The import said they cannot rush to the finish line, especially against a Ginebra team that is surely determined to bounce back from a pair of embarrassing losses.
"Take it one game at a time," said Balkman. "As we keep on moving forward, if we keep playing like that, I'm gonna get what I want."
"But at the same time, it's one game at a time, play by play," he stressed. "We can't go out there and say, 'the next 10 plays.' It's one game at a time."
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