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Justin Chua left disappointed as injury halts TNT’s strong start

Justin Chua is hoping for the best after suffering a right knee injury just mere minutes into the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals opener, Sunday night.

The TNT big man did not return to the game after going down at the 8:46-mark of the opening period. He had made an attempt to evade Justin Brownlee from the post, but said that he isn’t feeling any pain.

It wasn’t close to the ACL injury he suffered in the past, he added, although the 33-year-old remains wary as he’s yet to determine the full extent of his injury.

“Tingnan natin bukas ‘yung checkup,” Chua said shortly after the Tropang Giga’s 102-90 loss at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. “‘Yung initial na check naman, parang nothing serious naman. But siyempre kailangan pa rin mag-MRI. Then we’ll go from there na lang.

“It’s not painful eh. It’s like I can’t straighten it lang, parang ganon. Wala naman siyang pain at all. I’ve had ACL na before, it’s different eh. Ito, nakakalakad naman ako. Sana lang nabigla lang, ganon, kaya medyo weird ‘yung feeling.”

As optimistic as he was, though, Chua lamented exiting the game that early after feeling that he was bound for a good showing.

The big man out of Ateneo actually started the game and quickly registered three points, a rebound, and a block before the unfortunate injury.

“Siyempre ako naman gusto ko tumulong sa team eh, especially ang ganda ng start ko. Parang I scored, I rebounded, I got a blocked shot. So parang perfect start for me,” said Chua, who’s in his first Finals with TNT.

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But nothing compares to the frustration he felt while helplessly watching his team forced to play small ball against a lengthy Ginebra side.

The Tropang Giga, already without Kelly Williams due to an injury, lost Poy Erram as he got fouled out early in the fourth quarter.

“We were in the game, so nanghihinayang lang ako na biglang nangyari sa’kin – of all the times, sa Finals pa,” said the 2020 Top Bubble D-Fender awardee.

“Hopefully I could recover soon and help the team.”

The 2023 PBA Governors Cup Finals is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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