Playing behind Ben Mbala, Santi Santillan, Prince Rivero and Abu Tratter at the forward/center spot, Justine Baltazar realized that if he wanted to get more minutes, he needed to reinvent his game.

In last Wednesday’s win over UE, the 6’7 sophomore showed a new facet: the ability to shoot from the perimeter. Known primarily for his inside scoring and shot blocking, much of his offensive output in this game came from hitting those medium ranger jumpshots. He went perfect from the field and even had one three point conversion.

In the post game interview, he mentioned that he has been working on his outside game for months already and he is thankful that Coach Aldin Ayo is giving him the green light to shoot when open.

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“Tulad ng sinabi ni coach, huwag kang mahiya tumira. Gawin ko lang yung part ko,” said Baltazar, who revealed that he’s been polishing his touch from beyond the three-point arc for three months now.

“Nage-extra work lang din ako. Mga three months na. Talagang pina-practice ko yun,” he added.

When we saw him playing for the NU Bullpups back in high school, he already had a decent shooting touch but this is the first time to see him attempting from beyond the 15-foot range.

It will just be a matter of time before he becomes a regular fixture in the Green Archers’ rotation but Balti remains patient and makes the most out of every opportunity given to him to further improve.

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“Magic bunot lang siguro. Sinasabi lang ni coach na mag-ready lang ako kasi hindi naman pwedeng first quarter hanggang fourth quarter maglalaro si Ben. Kailagnan lang mag ready,”

There’s a reason why he chose to wear jersey number 35. Aside from adding a few more pounds, hope he can further develop his dribbling and passing skills as well.

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