Where to, Justine Baltazar? Sought-after Pampanga big man still undecided on college team
NU Bullpup big man Justine Salazar, the Finals MVP in the last UAAP juniors season, is one of the most sought after players coming out of high school. Dante Peralta

NATIONAL University high school star Justine Salazar insisted he is still undecided on which school to attend in college amid interest from a lot of big teams.

The 19-year-old Baltazar on Friday capped an impressive juniors career with a bang by delivering the UAAP Sseason 78 juniors basketball title to NU by way of a lopsided 96-75 win over De La Salle-Zobel in the finals.

The lanky 6-7 big man from Pampanga finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Bullpups in Game Three on the way to winning Finals MVP honors.

Baltazar, who averaged a league-best 13.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks along with 16.4 points, is one of the most sought after players from high school because of his agility and skills set that are rare for a player his size.

On which school stands to benefit from that talent is still anybody's guess.

“Wala pa. Kung saan po maganda,” said the soft-spoken Baltazar when asked which school he is planning to go to in college.

[See NU coach Jeff Napa ready to talk with Letran on vacant coaching job]

A decision for Baltazar may be a little complicated, especially since his longtime coach at NU, Jeff Napa, is believed to have the inside track on the vacant coaching position at Letran.

Baltazar was tight-lipped when asked if he plans to join Napa at Intramuros if Napa's move to Letran pushes through.

“Siya na po ang mag-dedesisyon. Kausapin ko rin tatay ko,” Baltazar said.

The Bullpups beanpole also belongs to the stable of players being maintained by Pampanga vice governor Dennis Pineda, meaning he, too, will have a say in the kid's final decision.

Since Pineda cut ties with San Sebastian, some of the promising players from his stable, like big man Larry Muyang, have ended up in the Green Archers camp.

The way things look, the frontrunners in the race to sign Baltazar appear to be La Salle, NU and Letran.


Baltazar, though, is in no rush to make a commitment, saying he was only happy at this point to lead the Bullpups to their third UAAP juniors title in five years.

“Ginawa ko lang ‘yung pagiging captain ball ko. Inalalayan ko ‘yung mga teammates ko,” he said.

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