Justin Chua had a breakthrough campaign inside the PBA bubble.
It did not go unnoticed as the Phoenix stalwart is set to receive his first major personal career award after being named as the Top Bubble D-Fender by the PBA Press Corps in the recently-concluded season.
Chua will be officially bestowed the honor on March 7 during the PBAPC virtual Awards Night at the TV5 Media Center. The special event is presented by Cignal TV and to be shown over PBA Rush on March 8.
The 6-foot-6 center from Ateneo emerged as the top shot-blocker in the Clark bubble, averaging 1.6 per game as the last line of defense for the Fuel Masters. He also posted averages of 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds as he strongly contended for the PBA Most Improved Player award.
At the same time, Chua leads the All-Bubble D-Fenders unit along with NorthPort’s Christian Standhardinger, Calvin Abueva, formerly of Phoenix but now with Magnolia, San Miguel Beer’s Chris Ross, and Mark Barroca of Magnolia.
Chua, 31, is the second Phoenix player to be a recipient of the distinct bubble awards given by the group that covers the PBA beat.
RJ Jazul was earlier named Mr. Quality Minutes.
Other awards to be handed out are the Outstanding Coach of the Bubble, Mr. Executive, President’s Award, and a special citation.
Awardees already named were CJ Perez (Scoring Champion); the All-Rookie Team of Aaron Black, Arvin Tolentino, Roosevelt Adams, Barkley Ebona, and Renzo Subido; and the Game of the Bubble featuring Barangay Ginebra and Meralco.
Also to be feted during the affair are the awardees of the previous season led by 2019 Baby Dalupan Coach of the Year Leo Austria of San Miguel and Danny Floro Executive of the Year PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas; Presidential Awardee Vergel Meneses, mayor of Bulakan, Bulacan and one of the PBA’s 25 Greatest Players; and Defensive Player of the Year Sean Anthony of NorthPort.
Completing the 2019 batch of honorees are NorthPort vs. NLEX (Game of the Season), Perez, Robert Bolick, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Javee Mocon, and Abu Tratter (All-Rookie Team); Standhardinger, Kiefer Ravena, Beau Belga, Vic Manuel, Arwind Santos, and coach Yeng Guiao (All-Interview Team); and PBA D-League Finals MVPs Thirdy Ravena (Aspirants’ Cup) and Hesed Gabo (Foundation Cup).