JUSTIN Chua had a shaky start on the offensive end in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, but has regained his form on Saturday against Blackwater.
The Phoenix Super LPG big man had a near double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds in the Fuel Masters’ 114-92 win over the Bossing in his best game on offense. Entering the game, Chua was averaging 4.4 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Phoenix Super LPG coach Topex Robinson said Chua’s production is a welcome development for the team that has won two straight games for a 4-5 win-loss slate.
“I guess Justin last year is a different Justin now. Mas marami siyang responsibilities and having Jake and Vic to rotate, medyo nagkaroon ng challenge si Justin,” said Robinson.
Justin Chua as 'Great Wall of China'
With the changes in the Phoenix frontline during the offseason especially with the addition of Vic Manuel in the team, Robinson urged Chua to be a force on the defensive end, something that the former Ateneo center thrived on during the 2020 Philippine Cup bubble where he won the Best Defender award and candidate for Most Improved Player.
“He is going back to his identity. The coaches remind him, let the offense come to you. What you could bring into the team is your defense. A lot of people were saying ‘Great Wall of China.’ He went back to that. Nawala ‘yung pressure sa kanya offensively,” said Robinson.
Chua is also starting to contribute with the little things on offense and defense, according to Robinson.
“So what he is doing right now is getting his teammates involved especially Matt. The way he sets screen on Matt, it creates a lot of opportunity for us. We are always going to encourage Justin for those small wins that he does,” said Robinson.
Phoenix is in its final stretch in the elimination round, with the Fuel Masters looking to atone for their struggle in the early part of the Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
“Right now, we are happy where he is. His confidence is back in time for our last two games. Again, everything is rolling well for Justin,” he said.
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