PBA: Down two imports, Phoenix was saved by seldom-used Justin Chua

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 20, 2018 11:02 PM
PBA: Down two imports, Phoenix was saved by Justin Chua
Justin Chua came through for Phoenix with two of its imports sidelined up against Ginebra

Phoenix had to change its import just three days before its showdown with Ginebra on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

And there, replacement reinforcement Eugene Phelps battled cramps for much of the two overtime periods.

And so, the Fuel Masters needed a local to step up – and Justin Chua did just that.

For the seldom-used big man, who was averaging just 13 minutes before the game, the Phoenix coaching staff has done nothing but prepare each and every one of them. “Kung nasa bench ako, I was staying ready lang always. Yun naman laging pini-preach sa amin e – na we always have to be ready,” he told reporters after he and his team outlasted Ginebra, 103-98.

In that big-time win, it was Chua who was the unlikely hero as his floater gave the Fuel Masters a more comfortable three-point lead with 41.4 ticks to go on the clock in the second overtime. “Nataon lang na napunta sa akin yung last shot and na-shoot ko so thank you. Swerte lang talag ana pumasok lang,” he said.

Not only that, he also did his part in slowing down Gin King behemoth Greg Slaughter who wound up with 14 points and six rebounds and was a non-factor in the endgame. “Me and Greg, since college pa lang naman, nagbabantayan na kami,” he said about his former teammate in Ateneo de Manila University.

He then continued, “Nataon na kami ynug matchup today so I just took it as a challenge.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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