UAAP: Justine Baltazar holding down the fort for La Salle

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 19, 2018 08:40 PM
UAAP: Justine Baltazar holding down the fort for La Salle
Justine Baltazar is finally getting all the time he needs to prove his worth in La Salle

Make no mistake, Justine Baltazar was the best big man coming out of high school in 2016.

Fresh off a Finals MVP and, of course, a championship with Nazareth School of National University, the 6-foot-7 center had his choice of where to go next.

Ultimately, he went with De La Salle University.

Once there, however, he had the hulking presence of Cameroonian Ben Mbala in front of him.

Of course, the eventual back-to-back MVP had to be at the forefront of anything and everything the Green Archers were doing.

That meant that Baltazar had to take a step back and only averaged 3.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in 9.4 minutes in his first two seasons in the Seniors.

Still, the now 21-year-old said he kept the faith. “Lagi lang akong nire-remind ng mga coach na maghintay lang ako at dadating din yung time ko. Eton a nga, kailangan ko lang magtrabaho,” he shared.

His time has finally come and on Wednesday, proved it by posting a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds to go along with three assists to lift La Salle to its first win of the season.

For head coach Louie Gonzalez, that was just what he was expecting all along. “Sa start pa lang ng season, sinabi ko nang he’ll play a big role for us,” he said.

And Baltazar is only promising the faithful over at Taft Avenue that this is just the start. “Paninindigan ko na ‘to at ipapakita ko na lahat-lahat,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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