Photo from UAAP

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Ill-stricken Baltazar plays hearts out for Final Four-seeking La Salle

by Niel Victor Masoy, October 16, 2019 2:43pm

After De La Salle University’s (DLSU) game against Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) last Sunday, (October 13), Green Archers big man Justine Baltazar went down with a sickness the day after.

Siguro yung sa game yun sa Ateneo (kaya ako nagkasakit). Talagang napagod. Kailangan talagang magpahinga,” said Baltazar.

“Checkup lang. Tas yung PT namin binigyan lang ako ng gamot,” he added.

Come Wednesday, October 16, Baltazar shared he’s already feeling well.

He stressed the need for him to shrug off any illness as La Salle needed him down low against the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors in another University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 82 Men’s basketball tourney second round elimination game Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Oo, okay naman (na ako),” said Baltazar of his condition before the game.

“Kasi wala kaming big man, ang dami naming mga injury, ang dami naming may sakit. Kaya kailangang maglaro. Kailangan naming bumawi sa UE. Ayoko nang maulit yung first round (na talo namin sa kanila),” he uttered.

Baltazar never let the Green Archers bow to the Red Warriors anew, indeed.

The 6-foot-7 Pampanga native played over 37 minutes against UE and put up a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds, on top of three assists.

More importantly, Baltazar scored eight of his total points in the fourth quarter as he helped lead La Salle to a 65-59 gutsy win over UE.

Kahit pagod na pagod ko, kailangan ko pa rin maglaro. Sabi ni coach wala nang papalit sakin tapos dikit lang yung score. Kailangan ko talagang magtrabaho,” said Baltazar.

In the post-game presser, Baltazar, before anything else, made sure to thank God for giving him the energy to play on coming off a sickness.

“Una sa lahat thank you kay Lord kasi kahit na… kasi galing kami lahat sa sakit eh… di ako pwedeng hindi maglaro. Kailangan ako sa court. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako kay God na napagaling nya ako and natulungan ako ng mga teammates ko. Saka galing kami sa talo, kailangan naming bumawi.”

Baltazar shared he also drew strength from the La Salle community, his family, and his fans in general.

“Siguro sa La Salle community, sa mga family ko tsaka sa mga sumusuporta sakin, kailangan kong maglaro ng maayos.”

The Green Archers’ victory over the Red Warriors improved their record to a 5-5 win-loss card, good for the fourth spot of the team standings.

To further bolster their chances of making the Final Four, Baltazar stressed the need for La Sale to beat the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Kailangan namin mag stepup at bumawi sa FEU,” utterd Baltazar, referring to the Green Archers’ first round loss to the Tamaraws.

“Kailangan namin manalo para makapasok kami sa Final Four. Bahala na sila coach kung anong gagawin namin sa offense and defense para sa sabado."

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