Baltazar vows readiness for PBA after MPBL, overseas stints

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Baltazar vows readiness for PBA after MPBL, overseas stints
Justine Baltazar
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- Holding off PBA stints in the past, potential No. 1 PBA Draft overall pick Justine Baltazar said that his tour of duty in the MPBL and the Japan B.League prepared him for Asia's oldest basketball league. 

Baltazar earlier declared for the PBA Draft in Season 47 but later withdrew to sign with the Hiroshima Dragonflies.

A few months later, he was released by the team and signed with the Seoul Samsung Thunders of the Korean Basketball League, but he did not play for the squad.

And last year, the big man played for the Pampanga Giant Lanters in the MPBL, winning the championship and a Most Valuable Player plum.

This time around, he threw his hat into the draft pool and he is expected to be picked highly.

At the sidelines of the draft combine on Wednesday, Baltazar said that his prior experience in playing prepared him for the PBA.

“I gained some confidence in the MPBL, and now, my game has returned. This year, I really planned to declare for the draft,” he told reporters in Filipino.

“I am now really ready for the PBA,” he added.

The 6-foot-8 big man is being viewed as a potential top pick of the draft given his size and his skills.

Baltazar tipped his hat to the leagues he played in for helping him improve.

“It is also a big help for me to play overseas. It was great because I also played against ex-NBA players. I will bring that to the PBA,” he stressed.

“And, playing for the MPBL was also a big help because that is where I got my confidence. When I get to the PBA, I will not have a hard time.”

The Converge FiberXers will pick first in the draft on Sunday.

Converge head coach Aldin Ayo on Wednesday said that the squad is looking for a “player who is versatile enough to produce what we are lacking, especially in defense,” as well as big men and offensive firepower.

Baltazar said that if picked by the FiberXers, he would be able to shore up the team’s frontline.

“If I am picked by Converge, I will be able to provide what they are lacking because they lack big men.”

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