Addition to Gilas pool a pleasant surprise for Justine Baltazar

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 21, 2019 08:01 PM
Addition to Gilas pool a pleasant surprise for Baltazar
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Justine Baltazar broke through the glass ceiling a season ago, holding down the fort for De La Salle University before getting named into the Mythical Team.

A year later, the 6-foot-7 force is being eyed to possibly be part of Gilas Pilipinas for the oncoming 2019 SEA Games.

For Baltazar, being included alongside the University of the Philippines' Juan Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, and Ricci Rivero, Ateneo de Manila University's Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena, and National University's Dave Ildefonso came as a shock. "Nagulat ako, pero kung papalarin, malaking tulong ito para sa akin. Natutuwa ako na may nakakakita pala sa akin," he said.

Of course, the fourth-year big man is only ready and raring to make the Philippines proud. "Goal ko talagang makapaglaro sa ganun. Gusto kong ma-experience yung international," he shared.

He then continued, "Kung mala-line up, ibibigay ko talaga lahat para sa bayan."

Without a doubt, Baltazar has come far - from being a reed-thin center for Nazareth School of National University to being the man in the middle for the Green Archers, posting per game counts of 15 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks, and one assist this season.

And now, the pride of Pampanga has a golden opportunity to be part of the national team.

If and when he makes it there, he has but one promise - do his job. "Siyempre, depensa lang muna ako dun. Depensa at rebound lang," he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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