Justine Baltazar withdraws from PBA Rookie Draft


Posted at May 12 2022 05:30 PM

UAAP Media
De La Salle University's Justine Baltazar during the UAAP Season 84 Awarding Ceremonies. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- De La Salle University's Justine Baltazar, a presumptive top overall pick, has withdrawn from the PBA Rookie Draft.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed on Thursday that Baltazar will not be joining the draft proceedings on Sunday as he is set to play in Japan's B.League instead.

Baltazar made his decision official on Thursday and sent a letter to the PBA Commissioner's Office. 

"Para hindi maipit 'yung bata, at para hindi maipit 'yung team, mag-Japan muna siya tapos saka siya bumalik, 'pag okay na," said Marcial during the Draft Combine at the Gatorade Hoops Center. "Sabi ko, pagkatapos mo ng commitment sa Japan, welcome ka naman sa PBA."

Baltazar did not attend either day of the PBA Draft Combine.

A three-time UAAP Mythical Team member during his time with the Green Archers, Baltazar was considered a possible top pick along with the likes of Filipino-American forward Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser.