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PBA commissioner Willie Marcial lifts lifetime ban on Renaldo Balkman

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PBA lifts lifetime ban on Renaldo Balkman (2:21)

Former Petron import Renaldo Balkman can see action in the Philippine Basketball Association again. (2:21)

Renaldo Balkman can see action in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) again.

Balkman, a former NBA player, was given a second chance to play in the country's professional league after PBA commissioner Willie Marcial lifted his lifetime ban.

This was confirmed to ESPN5 by Marcial himself.

"He wrote a letter of appeal then personally appeared in my office. But I didn't decide just based on that. I solicited the thoughts of Commissioner Chito Salud and Arwind Santos. Both gave their thumbs up for the lifting of the ban," Marcial said in a report on the PBA website.

"Balkman was apologetic and gave assurance for his behavior on and off the court. He has matured since the incident now that he's 33."

The former NBA player suited up for Petron in the 2013 Commissioner's Cup but was banned from the PBA and fined P250,000 for his aggressive actions during a game between his team and Alaska on March 8, 2013.

After the incident, former league commissioner Chito Salud, in a statement, handed down the lifetime ban on Balkman "for initiating threatening physical contact with a referee followed by a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron team mates and superiors, including the head coach and assistant coaches, amounting to a blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ballclub, the League, the fans and his host country."

Before making the decision, Marcial sought approval from Salud and Arwind Santos, Balkman's teammate during his time with Petron whom he choked.

"I trust that he has learned his lesson and has become a better person and a more disciplined athlete. Good luck to him," said Salud.

According to Marcial, Balkman can play as soon as the next PBA conference, which kicks off on April 22. But the commissioner said the San Miguel franchise owns the rights of first refusal on Balkman.

The Puerto Rican player is currently playing for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League.