Just at the half of De La Salle University's matchup opposite National University, Sunday at MOA Arena, Justine Baltazar already had a double-double.
"Sabi nina coach, mag-push lang lalo, trabaho lang lalo," he said post-game, talking about keeping his fire burning even as he already had a double-double and the Green Archers were already up by double-digits.
Indeed, the fourth-year center only pushed harder on the pedal and ultimately wound up with a dominant double-double of 25 points and 25 rebounds.
Of course, through it all, Baltazar had extra motivation in the form of Bulldogs' assistant coach Jeff Napa.
"Siyempre, parang sinabi ko lang last year, si Coach Jeff, siya pa rin motivation ko kasi malaking tulong talaga binigay niya sa akin e," he shared. "Pumunta ako sa NU na 'di ako marunong tapos siya talaga nagtiyaga sa akin. Inspirasyon ko pa rin siya hanggang ngayon kaya iniisip ko, pag kalaban sila, maganda dapat laro ko."
The 6-foot-7's big man's career got going when he was under the tutelage of so-called "big man whisperer" Jeff Napa in Nazareth School of NU.
There, the two experienced a dominant championship back in 2016.
And from then until now, Coach Jeff has no doubt about Baltazar's work ethic. "Yung effort ng bata, simula't-sapul pa lang hanggang ngayon, 'di nagbabago yung attitude. That's why bine-bless siya e," he shared.
He then continued, "Alam kong marami pa siyang kailangan trabahuin nung simula, pero give credit sa bata kasi nag-work harder talaga siya. Kung anong nakukuha niya ngayon, dahil sa kanya yun."
And that is exactly why Napa only believes his recruit out of Pampanga can do even better than his 25-25 double-double.
Baltazar is hoping for that as well. As he put it, "Kung maganda yung lalaruin ko, ganun nga sana."
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