JUSTIN Chua’s hardwork during the offseason and the confidence Phoenix Super LPG coach Topex Robinson is giving to him in the PBA Philippine Cup bubble are the big reasons for the improvement of the big man this conference.
This was the assessment made by Justin’s trainer Nicolo Chua, one of the persons who helped the Phoenix big man during the build-up to the PBA Philippine Cup even prior to the pandemic.
Chua, who runs the Simple Grind basketball and fitness training, said that the Phoenix player trained under his wing in preparation for the 2020 season but his improved play also has a lot to do with the breaks he is getting from Robinson.
“A part of it, ‘yung ginagawa namin helped pero it’s more on the break na binigay ni coach Topex, ‘yung binigyan siya ng kumpiyansa,” said Nicolo Chua. “’Yung shooting niya, hindi naman kami ang may gawa niyan eh. It’s more on the break na binigay sa kanya.”
Nicolo Chua added that Robinson’s ways to motivate the Fuel Masters not only have a great effect on Justin, but also on his teammates as well.
“Ang dapat talagang ma-credit diyan is si coach Topex na binigyan siya ng kumpiyansa. Tingin ko, magaling talaga mag-motivate si coach Topex. May mga times na bad shooting quarters siya tapos biglang sa fourth, biglang dalawa, tatlo. It’s more of the exposure,” he added.
“Kung papansinin mo, halos lahat sila maganda ang pinapakita. May (RJ) Jazul ka na grabe ang performance. Matthew Wright talagang expected na pero may (Brian) Heruela ka na biglang nagpopop-up,” he added.
Because of his performance, Justin Chua is one of the strong candidates to take the Most Improved Player award, if the league decides to give such plum in the bubble season. Chua averaged 13.8 points, 6.82 rebounds, and a conference-best 1.73 blocks per outing during the eliminations.
Nicolo Chua said it is also Justin’s efforts to improve his game was a big factor in his performance on the court. He added that Justin always makes use of his time to do extra work outside of the everyday practices with the Fuel Masters.
“Ang maganda sa kanya, masipag. Minsan may times na malayo siya or sasabihin niya na baka male-late siya ng konti pero ‘yung drive niya, kahit practice lang ‘yan o individual practice, gusto talaga niyang maging better,” he added.
Nicolo Chua said during the offseason, he and fellow trainer Michael Abalos worked on Justin’s shooting due to the fact that there are plays that require him to take an outside shot.
“Nagga-guide din siya sa mga ginagawa namin like sinasabi niya kung ano ang plays nila, eto ‘yung ginagawa nila sa team. It’s more on shooting naman. Shooting big man siya eh. Talagang midrange, three-point shots ang pinapractice namin and ‘yung mga scenarios like pick and pop, pick and roll,” he added.
Aside from his skills training, Nicolo said Justin Chua was also doing plyometrics through the supervision of fellow trainer Willy Chan, and they were surprised with the results.
“Nag-strength and conditioning din siya kay coach Willy kaya nung medyo lumalamang siya sa blocks, parang sabi niya (Justin) parang effective ‘yung plyometrics… Nagulat din kami. Hindi naman puwedeng training na puro bola lang at nasa court. Kailangan may weights din at resistance,” said Nicolo Chua.
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