UAAP: Justine Baltazar a sight to behold for his former coaches

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 03, 2018 07:17 PM
UAAP: Baltazar a sight to behold for his former coaches
Justine Baltazar had a new career game facing off against another former mentor

For the second time in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Justine Baltazar had for himself a career game.

Dropping a career-best 22 points on top of 10 rebounds and three blocks, the third-year center joined forces with Aljun Melecio to lift De La Salle University over University of Sto. Tomas on Wednesday.

And to make his career game even more special, he did it up against former head coach Aldin Ayo.

Of course, Baltazar acknowledged, just like Melecio did, that he had additional fuel to the fire seeing coach Aldin now on the opponents’ bench. “Last year, wala akong playing time talaga e. Ilang minutes lang akong naglalaro,” he said, referring to the 9.6 minutes he averaged in the last two years.

He then continued, “Ngayon, pinakita ko lang talaga sa kanyang nag-improve ako talaga. Nagdoble kayod ako ngayon.”

Indeed, the determination was very much evident on the 6-foot-8 center as he stood as a force for the Green Archers all game long.

This wasn’t the first time Baltazar has played inspired up against a former head coach.

Just two weeks ago, he posted a career-high 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds, including the game-winner, up against National University – his high school alma mater which had his former high school coach Jeff Napa on its staff.

“Siguro, gusto ko lang ipakita kay coach na nag-improve ako,” he said then.

Now, the Pampanga native re-emphasized his statement that seeing his previous mentors on the other side only makes him want to show them how far he has come. “Siguro, inspirasyon ko lang din na nakasama ko sia at kung anong tinuro nila sa akin, ini-improve ko lang. Masarap ipakita na maganda yung nilalaro ko,” he shared.

He made it clear, however, that he harbors no ill will towards them. “Oo, walang sakit,” he answered when asked if all the motivation he is getting is the positive kind.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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