AFTER playing second fiddle to more celebrated Ateneo teammates in the UAAP, Justin Chua finally shone brightest in the PBA D-League.
Chua had a title series to remember for Blackwater Sports, coming up with 17 points in each of the two games to help the Elite sweep four-time defending champion NLEX in the Foundation Cup on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-5 Chua won a PBA D-League crown in just his second conference with the team, doing so at the expense of more celebrated former Blue Eagles teammates Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, and Kirk Long.
A backup slotman in a star-studded Ateneo side, Chua was given a major role at Blackwater and did not disappoint, leading the Elite in scoring in the 70-67 victory in Game One and matching his scoring output in an 80-74 win that completed the finals shutout.
“Sobrang saya lang,” said the 23-year-old Chua. “Siyempre panibagong team. First conference ko, I was just getting to know them. Luckily, we won it sa second try against the top team in the league.”
Blackwater coach Leo Isaac knew Chua had something to prove and gladly gave the big man a chance.
“He really wanted to prove something against Greg Slaughter and Nico Salva. He was playing secondary role to these players. Sabi niya, lalabanan ko sila at ipapakita na dapat andoon din ako,” said Isaac.
Chua, however, was quick to play down the supposed showdown with former teammates and said he was only focused on winning the title.
“I just wanted to win the championship. Hindi ko iniisip ’yun,” said Chua. “Main focus ko talaga, depensa. Pero luckily, nag-click din ang opensa ko.”