Justine Baltazar’s KBL deal falls through 

Justin Baltazar (UAAP Images)


Justine Baltazar’s new direction on his basketball career might have fallen through once more. 

The 25-year-old power forward, whose Strong Group are coming off a quarterfinal loss at the hands of Al Riyadi in their Dubai tilt on Friday, Feb. 3, seemingly failed to make it in time of the Feb. 1 deadline of the Korean Basketball League player registration. 

Last December, Baltazar was released by the Japan B.League’s Hiroshima Dragonflies after an unproductive stint with the team. 

The 6-foot-9 Baltazar, though, was quick on his feet and committed to the Seoul Samsung Thunders the following month. 

However, according to a report from Jumpball Korea, the team has since lost contact with the former De La Salle standout. 

“Samsung signed a contract with Philippine player Justin Baltazar (25, 207cm) last month. However, on the 1st, the last day for player registration, Samsung failed to register Baltazar. Baltazar, who was playing in a cup competition in Dubai, was scheduled to board a plane to Korea on January 31st and arrive on the 1st to join the team,” said the report. 

“On the 31st, Samsung tried to purchase and deliver a boarding pass from Dubai to Incheon Airport, but Baltazar was silent. I haven't even been contacted by an agent. Until the player registration deadline (6:00 p.m.), there was no contact, and Samsung eventually decided to terminate the contract.” 

Baltazar is the third Filipino import that the Thunders recruited which also seemingly went for naught. 

Will Navarro, who couldn’t secure his release from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), was initially tapped by the KBL team. 

Seoul Samsung eventually moved forward and signed Christian David, who could not see action for the team due to knee problems. 

With the development, a tweet response by Strong Group head tactician Charles Tiu on Feb. 3 revealed that Baltazar “didn’t get his visa.”

“Mr. Epal before you start pointing fingers find out the story. 1 he was with us before Korea. 2 he didn't get his visa. How was he going to go? Duh,” Tiu's tweet said as a reply to another Twitter user.

With the deal falling through, Seoul Samsung won’t be brushing it off aside as it “plans to submit the details of Balthazar's breach of contract to the KBL Finance Committee” and further sanction might await Baltazar.