Baltazar and the rest of La Salle crew withstand ‘Flu Game’ against UE
La Salle wanted this revenge game against UE Red Warriors on Wednesday, who gave them a crushing 89-88 defeat in the first round.
In fact, their matchup against UE came at the perfect time for La Salle after suffering from a Sunday loss against Ateneo Blue Eagles.
However, health became a major factor that the Green Archers had to overcome.
The Taft-based squad were missing Tyrus Hill, James Laput, Kurt Lojera, and Keyshawn Meeker due to various injury.
Things turned bad to worse when Justine Baltazar, Jordan Bartlett, Andrei Caracut, Jamie Malonzo, Joaqui Manuel, and Aljun Melecio also suffered a viral infection.
“Before practice on Monday, we found out that seven of our players had flu then three are injured so that was really tough,” La Salle head coach Gian Nazario.
“We weren’t really sure what kind of team we we’re gonna bring in today. Hindi kami sigurado if they’re gonna be able to push through.”
Fortunately for the La Salle, they were able to orchestrate a 65-59 payback against UE.
“We’re happy na we were able to pull this one out, [since] we really needed this one. We really needed this one,” Nazario said.
Baltazar, who also had a flu-like symptoms, still powered the Archers with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
For the Pampanga native, he wanted this UE game so bad that he unleashed all of his arsenlas, especially in the final frame of the matchup.
“Ang dami naming injury, ang dami naming may sakit kaya kailangan kong maglaro,” said the 6-foot-7 Baltazar.
“Tsaka kailangan naming bumawi sa UE. Ayoko nang maulit kasi masakit sa amin.”