Justine Baltazar banned from playing in KBL for 2 years after no-show
MANILA, Philippines — The Korean Basketball League slapped Justine Baltazar with a two-year suspension after failing to show up to play for the Seoul Samsung Thunders before the player registration deadline, a report said.
The KBL held a Finance Committee meeting on Thursday morning to deliberate the former La Salle star’s breach of contract, according to Korean publication Rookie Basketball Magazine.
The league’s disciplinary committee decided to bar the 6-foot-9 forward from playing in the KBL until the 2025 season, said the same report.
Baltazar reportedly signed a contract with the Thunders in January after he parted ways with the Hiroshima Dragonflies in Japan B.League.
However, the Gilas Pilipinas forward didn’t show up before the registration deadline on February 1 as he played with Strong Group Philippines in the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship.
Jumpball reported that Seoul lost contact with Baltazar and had no choice but to break his contract.
The Thunders also said that Baltazar didn’t even apply for a visa, despite sending the necessary documents in advance. But the camp of the Filipino forward didn’t acknowledge the receipt.
The Korean club then decided to terminate the contract with the Filipino player.
Baltazar and Strong Group were booted out in the quarterfinals of the invitational tournament.
Seoul Samsung has had a tough time signing Asian imports. Its first choice William Navarro didn’t get his release from Northport while Filipino-American Christian David couldn’t play due to knee injury and was released last December.
The Thunders are reeling in the last place of the 10-team league with an 11-27 record.
Baltazar, who was a mythical member of the UAAP Season 84, has yet to establish his name in the pro-ranks after taking a lot of u-turns in his career.
After his collegiate career, the 25-year-old big man listed his name for the 2022 PBA Rookie Draft but he withdrew to pursue the B.League.
But he only had a total of 13:36 minutes of playing time in eight games, where only tallied two points, one rebound, one assist, and one steal in his Japan stint before parting ways with Hiroshima to sign with the KBL.
Baltazar’s former team, Hiroshima. signed 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto on Tuesday after playing two seasons in Australia’s National Basketball League.
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