MANILA, Philippines – Renaldo Balkman may be best known as a notorious figure on the basketball court, but he isn't exactly that off it.
The Puerto Rican import hopes to take a break from the heated 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals between San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra to give back to underprivileged Filipino children.
Balkman, through his Balkmania Cares project, will spend time with the children at the Alay Pag-asa Christian Foundation during the weekend and gift them with toys and school supplies.
I've been in the Philippines for longs months now, and y'all have shown me nothing but love! It's that time that I give back. #BalkmaniaCares Foundation presents #GivingLoveBack to the orphans of Alay Pag-Asa Christian Foundation. A time to spend time with the kids, get to know them, play, gift-giving and feeding program. This Foundation is housing 50+ children. If any of you wants to donate anything for the kids, please let me know or contact the number posted. We're taking donations until Friday. Anything for the kids will help and will be greatly appreciated. Let's spread love and #GiveBack #balkmaniaworld #philippines A post shared by rbalkman (@rbalkman) on Jul 30, 2018 at 10:22pm PDT
"For me, giving them what they want – I'mma feed them breakfast, I'mma be there every morning, I'mma give them toys, play with them. Whatever I need to do for a couple of hours just to see a smile on their face," Balkman said.
"It's not about basketball all the time – winning a championship, yeah. But it's bigger than basketball."
To add to the gifts, the Best Import Candidate also plans to buy tickets for the children in Game 5 of the best-of-7 affair on Sunday, August 5.
And if the Beermen beat the Gin Kings in Game 4, the children will have a chance to witness Balkman and San Miguel defend the mid-season conference championship.
"It's a great opportunity for these kids to let them know that, 'Hey, you can be whatever you want to be.' I was once a kid that didn't have everything," Balkman shared.
"[I] want to give the kids something I didn't have [before] and I'll look forward to that on Sunday. It will be a great thing no matter what and forget about basketball. It will be for them the whole day."
Balkman and the Beermen go for a commanding 3-1 lead in Game 4 on Friday, August 3, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.