MANILA, Philippines – The Korean Basketball League (KBL) is making an example out of Justine Baltazar and banned the erring Filipino center for two years due to his reported contract breach, Korean site Jumpball reported on Thursday, February 9.
Jumpball referenced a KBL release in its report, which said that the league’s Finance Committee met and decided on Baltazar’s fate earlier in the day after “not even [applying] for a visa at the [Korean] embassy.”
“Baltazar was scheduled to return to Korea on [February 1] after finishing the Dubai Invitational Tournament, but contact was suddenly cut off,” read the report. “As a result, Samsung could not register [Baltazar] as a player in KBL.”
Baltazar just saw action for Strong Group-Philippines in the Dubai club tournament, where the team bowed out in the quarterfinals last week.
The former La Salle standout’s professional career is already off to a rocky start after forgoing the PBA draft in favor of a contract with the Japan B. League’s Hiroshima Dragonflies – now the home of Filipino star center Kai Sotto.
However, Baltazar had an extremely limited playing stint in Japan and was ultimately released last December 20, 2022.
The 6-foot-7 Gilas Pilipinas prospect still has a handful of options left in a very promising career, including throwing his name back to the PBA draft, where he is expected to be a highly sought asset. – Rappler.com
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