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    News you need to know: Baltazar's KBL ban, Sotto out for Fiba qualifying

    Here are the top stories from Thursday you may have missed
    Feb 10, 2023
    Justine Baltazar Kai Sotto Justin Melton
    Justine Baltazar, Kai Sotto, and Justin Melton occupied Thursday's headlines.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño | Japan B.League

    HERE are the top sports news from Thursday.

    Sports news February 9

    KBL suspends Justine Baltazar

    The Korean Basketball League has suspended Justine Baltazar for two seasons after being a no-show for the Seoul Samsung Thunders.

    Jumpball.co.kr cited a press release issued by the KBL, saying Baltazar violated his contract with the Thunders and has been suspended until the 2024-2025 season following a meeting by the league’s finance committee.

    The Gilas Pilipinas pool player had been to play for the Thunders after his stint with Strong Group in the Dubai International Basketball Championship recently.

    But during his stint in Dubai, Baltazar also did not meet the deadline for player registration in the KBL.

    Justin Melton now a free agent

    Justin Melton has found himself without a home after failing to get a contract extension with Blackwater.

    The veteran Filipino-American playmaker’s deal with the team expired at the end of January.

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    The 35-year-old Melton last played for the Bossing on November 25 of last year in a 116-97 loss to Rain or Shine, where he finished with six points and three assists.

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      Kai Sotto out of Gilas’ sixth window team

      Kai Sotto is setting his sights solely on the NBA dream for now as he is unlikely to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the sixth and last window of the Fiba World Cup qualifiers that the country is hosting.

      The 7-foot-3 center is focusing on individual development, starting with this stint in the Japan B.League with the Hiroshima Dragonflies, hopefully a springboard to NBA mini camps and the Summer League months from now.

      "The next six months are crucial. We have to make his body stronger and get him ready for mini camps and, hopefully, the Summer League," a source inside Sotto’s camp said.

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      Justine Baltazar, Kai Sotto, and Justin Melton occupied Thursday's headlines.
      PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño | Japan B.League
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