He’s strong. He’s towering. But Justine Baltazar is none more dangerous than when he’s celebrating his birthday.
The Nazareth School of NU big man churned out a monster double-double as he welcomed his 19th year on the planet, leading the Bullpups to a 78-58 rout of La Salle Zobel in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 78 juniors basketball finals.
Baltazar finished with 15 points and a career-high 27 rebounds — 11 on the offensive end — as NSNU moved just a win away from clinching the championship.
“Ngayon lang po talaga na ganito kaganda kasi dati naka 20 rebounds lang. Swinerte lang po talaga kasi birthday ko,” said the 6-foot-7 Pampanga native.
Providing a myriad of second chances for his teammates, Baltazar nearly outrebounded the Junior Archers by himself as the Alabang squad could only muster 34 boards throughout the match.
“Ginamit ko po talaga ang laki, yun talaga ang advantage, maganda naman ang kinalabasan,” said the soft-spoken Baltazar, who also had 4 blocks.
“Magtrabaho pa po kami, sumunod lang kami sa utos ng mga coach namin para manalo ulit next game,” said the graduating Baltazar, who has not yet committed to any UAAP team next season. — By Jason Mercene