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    La Salle big man Baltazar caught off-guard by swarming Ateneo defense

    Oct 13, 2019
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    COMING off of a stellar 25-25 mark against National University, Justine Baltazar found himself a marked man in La Salle's 77-69 defeat to Ateneo on Sunday.

    It caught the Green Archers' big man off-guard.

    "Yung Ateneo, naka-focus sa akin kaya pag hawak ko na 'yung bola sa poste, tini-triple nila ako, minsan double kaya di ako nalilibre," he said. "Nabigla rin ako eh. Pag-ikot ko, may magdo-double."

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      Baltazar could only muster 12 points on 6-of-14 shooting, to go with nine rebounds and one assist as he was caged in all 39 minutes he played.

      "Pilit ko lang na ginagawa 'yung mga pinapagawa sa akin ni coach," the 6-foot-7 center said.

      If there's one thing Baltazar regrets, it's that he should've done a better job of deferring to his teammates, especially when the defense was focused on him.

      "Kailangan kong makapasa sa labas kasi libre sila dahil sigurado, may isang malilibre sa labas," he said. "Minsan talaga di ako makaka-score kaya kailangan nila akong tulungan kasi nasa labas lahat ng mga nalilibre."

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      At 4-5, La Salle remains in the thick of the Final Four race, but Baltazar knows the Green Archers must step up in their five games to secure a playoff spot.

      "Kailangan naming bumawi sa five games namin. Kailangan naming mag-tuloy-tuloy na panalo para makapasok kami sa Final Four," he said.

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      PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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