There was no question that Justine Baltazar was the best player on the floor during the De La Salle Green Archers’ 85-61 easy win over the National University Bulldogs on Sunday.
DLSU has continued to displya full confidence in their 6’7 slotman in Season 82, as he poured in a dominating stat line of 25 points and 25 rebounds, to go along with two rejections last night. Baltazar, who could only muster four points in the team’s previous game against the UST Growling Tigers, shared how delighted he was to come up with a bounce-back performance.
“Una, nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat, dahil maganda ang laro ko. Pinakita ko, bumawi ako sa laro ko sa UST, medyo pangit ang laro ko. Sabi kasi ni coach, bumawi ako sa laro ko. Naging maganda yung laro. Atsaka pinaghandaan talaga namin ang NU. Kasi noong first round, lahat ng pagkakamali namin itama, kaya siguro maganda ang laro,” the Kapampangan big said.
Despite La Salle’s offensive struggles early in the first round of the tournament, the team has been solid defensively thanks in large part to the bruising frontline of Baltazar and Filipino-Australian center Brandon Bates. The towering pair has learned to co-exist on the floor together, which has bode wonders for coach Gian Nazario’s squad.
“Maganda ang pinapakita ni Bates. Inaapply niya yung mga nasa practice. Atsaka tinutulungan ko rin siya,” Baltazar said.
Nazario, meanwhile, wasn’t surprise with his young center’s brilliant performance, since he continues to witness him exhibit a workhorse mentality even during practices.
“When was the last time a local had a 25 and 25 in the UAAP? I mean, again, yan ang resulta ng ginagawa ni Balti during practices. He works really hard. He takes care of his body really well. And it shows in the game,” he shared.
DLSU will have get another shot at avenging their round 1 defeat to the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles next Sunday, October 13.