Justin Chua PBA PHOTO
Justin Chua PBA PHOTO
The three-team, multi-player trade involving Phoenix, NLEX and TNT and centering around 2020 PBA Defensive Player of the Year Justin Chua has been approved by the Office of the Commissioner on Wednesday.Under the trade setup, the Fuel Masters trade veteran big man Jake Pascual and hard working forward Sean Anthony to the Road Warriors in exchange for the 6-6 Chua, Paul Varilla along with NLEX's highest second round pick in the 48th season rookie draft.Phoenix, which will now be under interim coach Jamike Jarin, then sends Chua and Varilla to the Tropang Giga for big man Raul Soyud, guard JJ Alejandro and TNT's second round pick in the 52nd season draft. The approved deal strengthens TNT, which failed to make the playoffs in the just-concluded 2022-23 PBA Commissioner's Cup, as he joins slotman Poy Erram and veteran center Kelly Williams at front court.The 33-year-old Chua averaged 9.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13 games during the Commissioner's Cup.
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Chua and Varilla, as well as Soyud and Alejandro will make their respective debuts on their new PBA squads on Jan. 25 when TNT and Phoenix square off in the main game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.On the other hand, Pascual reunites with NLEX coach Frankie Lim, having played under the latter for four seasons at San Beda. The hard-banging Pascual, in fact won three NCAA men's basketball titles as a Red Lion and was named the 2009 NCAA Most Improved Player.The 34-year-old Pascual, the eighth overall pick in the 2014 rookie draft, closed his collegiate career with another NCAA title in 2012, but by then, Ronnie Magsanoc was already at the helm.