FOR the second time in UAAP Season 81, La Salle's Justine Baltazar showed a former coach he has improved by leaps and bounds.
Facing Aldin Ayo’s University of Santo Tomas Tigers, Baltazar came away with his best scoring performance in the league with 22 points padded with 10 boards and three blocks as La Salle came away with a 99-72 win on Wednesday.
Baltazar averaged just 9.7 minutes when Ayo was in charge at La Salle and given the chance, he definitely showed how much he has improved.
“Siguro, last year, sa kanya, wala akong playing time talaga e. Ilang minutes lang ako naglalaro. Ngayon, pinakita ko lang talaga sa kanyang nag-improve ako. Nag-doble kayod ako ngayon,” said Baltazar.
Ayo said that Baltazar’s improvement is a testament to the big man's hard work.
“Coaches should not take credit for the achievement of the players. Kasi yung mga players, sila ang gumagawa nyan sa sarili nila,” said Ayo.
“Kung gumaling man yung mga batang yun, hindi sa mga coaches eh. Sila ang nagtrabaho, sila yung nag-ensayo. We’re just there to guide them eh,” he added.
It wasn’t the first time that Baltazar showed up a former coach. In their win against National University, where his high school Jeff Napa is now consultant, the 6-foot-7 slotman drained what turned out to be the game-winner.
There’s just something about playing against his old coaches that brings out the best in him and it’s not because of grudges – he calls it positive motivation.
“Inspirasyon ko lang din kasi nakasama ko sila. Kung anong tinuro nila sa kin, ini-improve ko lang. Masarap ipakita na maganda yung nilalaro ko. Siguro, nakikita rin nila.”