* I was able to watch Justin Chua, the much-heralded high school basketball prospect during the opening of the 2008 season of the Metro Manila Tionglian Basketball Association (MMTBA).
* Justin seems to have bulked up in his upper body compared to his video during the 2006 MMTBA finals against Xavier. A lot of his Giovanni Pineda-like moves also seems to have gone away, another benefit of the weight training he must have had during the last 2 years. He has great coordination, & capable of bursts of quickness on the floor.
* He also has good basic skills, as evidenced by his sometimes instinctive way to powering up for a shot after getting an offensive rebound (i.e., he steps one foot back, then brings it forward again then jumping to make a stronger jump during a follow up ). Probably a result of his practice sessions under Norman Black. What he doesn’t have, is leaping ability, as he had a bit of trouble dunking the ball w/ one hand even from a running start. He definitely is no Kelly Williams in that regard.
* Its easy to see why he could be so dominating in the MMTBA, though. Having glimpsed at 6 of the 7 teams in that league, there literally was nobody w/ the combination of height & heft who could match up w/ him there. He literally was the biggest fish in that pond, bullying & bulldozing his way to offensive rebounds, putbacks & low post plays. One on one nobody could stop him there. In the game against Xavier School alone it looked like he had at least a dozen blocked shots. There just wasn’t any individual challenge for him in that league.
* I think he will be a good player in college. His biggest adjustment will be playing in a league where the other players he will be up against are just as big, or even bigger than he is. His lack of vertical leaping is a bit of a concern for me, I feel he needs that to be able to match up well against players like the high-leaping Junmar Fajardo, for example. He definitely will be matching up w/ him & others like him sometime during the next couple of years. A man playing against kids, its almost boring to watch him in High School now. On to college, where stiffer competition awaits him.