Renaldo Balkman never lost hope on a possible PBA comeback even after he was meted with a lifetime ban.
"Playoffs is playoffs. No matter if you're number one or number eight, you still got a chance. So even though I know the round robin thing is kinda crazy, we gotta play," he said.
And he won't quit on San Miguel, the very team that gave him a second chance, anytime soon.
That's why even after the Beermen's tough 98-94 loss to GlobalPort on Wednesday, the Puerto Rican reinforcement keeps on harping to his squad to stay positive.
"We're taking it one game at a time. We fell short today, but fortunately, we got four more left," he said, quickly pivoting his attention to San Miguel's next game against TNT on Saturday.
At 3-4, the Beermen's dreams of a Grand Slam might not even make that far as they looked vulnerable in the game, especially with Batang Pier reinforcement Malcolm White already hitting the showers with 8:09 still left to play.
For Balkman, the defeat should be utilized by San Miguel as a chance for self-reflection, to humble itself and focus on what matters the most: winning.
"With import or without import, you still have to play basketball and you gotta stay focused when you're out on the court. Kudos to my guys, they still played. GlobalPort, they're a great basketball team and they came out with the win, but at the same time, we gotta start winning," said the Puerto Rican import.
Slowly, the reality of the Beermen's situation is dawning on Balkman as this fourth defeat knocks them out of contention a top two finish.
But he remains defiant, knowing that as long as San Miguel makes it to the top eight, the Grand Slam dream is still alive.
They just need to find a way to get in.
Balkman even guaranteed that the Beermen won't finish lower than sixth, which would save them from being in a dangerous twice-to-win disadvantage in the quarterfinals.
"You have to beat the team twice, or they gotta beat you once. But we won't get that far. We'll be okay going into it though. That's my word," he said.(DL)