Effort rewarded with win as Justine Baltazar bucks illness to step up for La Salle
The Green Archers had to notch a win against the Red Warriors to maintain their position in the Final Four race and Baltazar trudged on despite contracting the flu the night before.
Baltazar’s efforts didn’t go to waste, though, as the Green Archers took the 65-59 win Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“I’m okay and it’s fine for me to play because we didn’t have any big man, we have players nursing injuries and getting sick so I really needed to play,” said Baltazar in Filipino.
La Salle had seven players with the flu including Baltazar, who finished with a superb double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds in more than 37 minutes of play, even coming the lone center for the Green Archers at one point.
Brandon Bates fouled out with less than three minutes to play leaving Baltazar to man La Salle’s paint all to himself.
La Salle improved to a 5-5 record and now has sole possession of the fourth seed in the tournament.
The Green Archers also avenged their 89-88 loss to the Red Warriors in the first round and that brought UE’s record to 3-8 at the seventh seed.
“Even though I was tired I had to play because the coaches told me that there wasn’t anyone to sub in for me,” said Baltazar.
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