By NIKOLE JAVIER
The Korean Basketball League has slapped Justine Baltazar with a two-year ban following his no-show last week.
The 25-year-old, who was expected to see action for the Seoul Samsung Thunders and arrive for the Feb. 1 player registration deadline, failed to show up for the team which prompted an investigation from the league.
On KBL’s press release cited by Jumpball Korea on Thursday, Feb. 9, the league has decided to sanction Baltazar a suspension after reviewing the case where the latter acted in bad faith.
“The 28th 6th Finance Committee was held at the KBL Center in Nonhyeon-dong at 10:30 am on the 9th to review the contract violation case of Justin Baltazar (25, 207cm) from Seoul Samsung. We have decided to sanction the season suspension (until the 2024-2025 season).” Baltazar was scheduled to return to Korea on the 1st after finishing the Dubai Invitational Tournament, but contact was suddenly cut off. As a result, Samsung could not register as a player in KBL. In the end, he had no choice but to break the contract with Baltazar,” the release said.
After his two-month stint in Japan B.League last year, the former De La Salle standout was released in December by the Hiroshima Dragonflies which he barely saw action for before committing to the Thunders the following month.
According to Seoul, the 6-foot-9 center failed to even apply for a visa at the embassy despite the “necessary documents (that) were sent to Baltazar in advance.”
The KBL team further concluded that Baltazar, who was in Dubai at the time for Strong Group’s quarterfinal bid, “had no intention of coming to Korea from the beginning.”
As his new opportunity falls through, Baltazar would not be suiting for the local Korean league for the time being.