Potential top pick Justine Baltazar says he's now ready for PBA

Justine Baltazar feels international, MPBL stints make him PBA ready

Justine Baltazar PBA Rookie Draft

Justine Baltazar during the PBA Rookie Draft combine.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–Justine Baltazar believes the mixture of international experience and his current MPBL stint will help ease his transition into the PBA as a potential top overall pick in the upcoming Rookie Draft.

“Feeling ko talaga ready na ako,” Baltazar said during the two-day PBA Draft Combine that began Wednesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Many see the 6-foot-9 Baltazar being selected first by Converge in Sunday’s proceedings at Glorietta in Makati City owing to his versatility and length.


READ: Justine Baltazar, RJ Abarrientos lead PBA Rookie Draft aspirants

Baltazar was supposed to make the jump two years ago, but decided to pull out at the last minute after opting to have what eventually was a short stint in Japan’s B.League.

The one-time Gilas Pilipinas mainstay is currently playing for Pampanga in the MPBL where he has emerged as among the regional league’s top players.

“Playing overseas was really a big help because I was able to face some quality players, including ex-NBA players,” Baltazar said in Filipino. “The MPBL has also been a big help for me to gain some confidence and to prepare myself for the PBA.”

Justine Baltazar PBA Rookie Draft

Justine Baltazar during the PBA Rookie Draft combine.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

READ: Justine Baltazar banned from playing in KBL for 2 years after no-show

The FiberXers have been coy of their plans, but the entry of other talented applicants like Sedrick Barefield, RJ Abarrientos and Kai Ballungay may defy Baltazar’s early billing.


Regardless, Baltazar is eager to go toe-to-toe with some of the PBA’s top frontcourt players.

“I’m excited to face guys like my idol June Mar Fajardo, Raymond Almazan and my fellow Kapampangan Ian Sangalang,” said Baltazar.


Baltazar was among most of the 70 applicants who took part in measurements and biometrics in the morning followed by a mini-tournament where they were split into six teams.

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