Top rookie prospect Justine Baltazar pulls out from PBA Draft

Published May 12, 2022, 7:58 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from UAAP Media

Justine Baltazar will no longer take part in the PBA Rookie Draft slated Sunday, May 15 at Robinsons Place Manila.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed that Baltazar informed the league of his pullout from the upcoming proceedings amid rumors that the former La Salle star will sign for a team in Japan’s B.League.

Baltazar beat Saturday’s deadline for submission of application, but did not attend the two-day Draft Combine that ended Thursday at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City.

He was projected to be among the first round picks in the draft, with Blackwater initially considering taking the versatile big man from Pampanga.

The 6-foot-7 cager is coming off an impressive final year in the UAAP, almost leading La Salle to the Season 84 Finals despite a seesaw campaign and was named to the league’s Mythical Team.

Several players also skipped the combine for various reasons, with the league allowing those with valid explanations to remain eligible, while some have yet to complete their requirements.

The PBA is expected to announce the final list of draftees on Friday.