THERE is a possibility that Justine Baltazar will not immediately play for the team that will select him in the PBA Season 49 Draft.

The consensus No. 1 pick is still under contract with the Pampanga Giant Lanterns for the rest of the MPBL season, and there is a chance that he will play out that contract before moving to the PBA.

That may mean the 6-7 former La Salle star won't see action in the PBA until December if the Giant Lanterns make it all the way to the finals of the MPBL's sixth season. 

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Baltazar confirmed his contract situation, which is similar to the cases of the likes of James Kwekuteye of Blackwater and NLEX's Jhan Nermal who finished the season with the Bacoor Strikers last season before joining the PBA.

"Tignan ko kung tatapusin ko ‘yung MPBL o maglalaro na ako (sa PBA)," said Baltazar, who is expected to be picked first by Converge in Sunday's draft ceremony.

Baltazar said the decision rests in Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda, one of his closest advisers and head coach of the Giant Lanterns, who are eyeing for back-to-back titles in the MPBL.

"Hinihintay ko desisyon ni Gov. Sinabi niya talaga sa akin na parang tatapusin ko talaga ‘yung MPBL kasi may kontrata ako," said Baltazar.

PHOTO: Ivy Ferrer

2024-07-10T06:18:59Z dg43tfdfdgfd