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Ex-NBA player banned in Philippines for "choking" team mate

Puerto Rico's Renaldo Balkman goes for a basket against Jordan's Khaldoon Abu Ruqayah during their 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament i
Puerto Rico's Renaldo Balkman goes for a basket against Jordan's Khaldoon Abu Ruqayah during their 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament i

(Reuters) - Former NBA player Renaldo Balkman has been banned from the professional basketball league in the Philippines for grabbing a team mate around the neck during a game.

The former New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets player has also been slapped with a fine of 250,000 Philippine pesos ($6,100) over the incident, Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Chito Salud said in a statement on Monday.

Balkman, who was playing for the Petron Blaze Boosters against the Philippines-based Alaska Aces, assaulted Arwind Santos while his team mate tried to stop him from venting his frustration at a referee's decision.

Salud said he took into consideration Balkman's past record as a player, which included a head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between his Puerto Rico side and Venezuela.

"I also took into consideration Balkman's evident disregard for local and the host country's sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own team mate who was trying to pacify him," Salud said.

"I do encourage passion for the game but I also want to firmly instill a culture of accountability among our players. If one does something that violates the rules and the norms of sportsmanship and decent behavior, he will be made accountable."

The 28-year-old also pushed away his other team mates and one of his coaches during the match, which the Boosters went on to lose 73-83

It was not clear from the statement if the ban was for good.

($1 = 40.6800 Philippine pesos)

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Mark Meadows)

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