Philippine basketball

Reunion soon? Winston hopes to team up with Baltazar again

Philip Matel

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Reunion soon? Winston hopes to team up with Baltazar again

STALWARTS. Justine Baltazar (left) and Schonny Winston in action for La Salle in the UAAP.


As the rookie draft nears, Converge guard Schonny Winston hopes to reunite with former La Salle teammate and reported PBA hopeful Justine Baltazar

MANILA, Philippines – Is a Green Archer reunion in the works?

Converge FiberXers guard Schonny Winston anticipates a potential joining of forces with former La Salle teammate Justine Baltazar, who is reportedly planning to join the 2024 PBA Rookie Draft.

If they do reunite in Converge, they would be coached by Aldin Ayo, who led the Green and White to the UAAP Season 79 championship in 2016.

“That’d be dope. I mean if he joins, that’ll be cool. We played together in La Salle. We have some chemistry,” Winston said during the “Hennessy In the Paint” event in Pasay on Friday, June 28.

“We’re just waiting on the news to see what happens or what happens next,” the Fil-Am guard added.

“But if he does end up joining, I would love to play with him again.”

Baltazar, a skilled 6-foot-9 forward who had also suited up for Gilas Pilipinas, is projected as the consensus top pick, while Converge holds the best odds of nabbing the No. 1 overall pick.

Baltazar and Winston were teammates for just one season, when the Archers were halted by eventual UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball champion UP Fighting Maroons in the Final Four.

Winston played one more year with La Salle and was drafted ninth overall in 2023, while Baltazar played in various leagues such as the Japan B. League, MPBL, and the NBL.

Baltazar led hometown Pampanga Giant Lanterns to their first MPBL championship in 2023, with the big man being feted as the season and Finals Most Valuable Player.

Under the tutelage of Ayo, Winston averaged 9.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game during his rookie PBA season.

As the FiberXers wallowed at the bottom tier of the PBA standings, the team will have an immediate boost if an exceptional talent like Baltazar is drafted by the team.

“I feel like the last few games of our season and our conference, we started to jell as a team so we got a few wins,” said Winston.

“That kind of gave us the momentum to go into this offseason and focus on the things we did well, so I think some new players and stuff like that will definitely help the team out a lot.” –

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