When he was 10, Justin was sent to live with his family in Bulacan, Philippines, to appreciate his Filipino roots, to learn the basics of Tagalog, and to embrace and explore his culture and heritage.
He learned basketball from his sister
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2019 - 12:00am

Body Talk with Justin Gutang, the shooting guard/power forward of Benilde Blazers, the varsity team of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde

Despite standing tall at 6’4” with a head-turning stature from head to toe, the 22-year-old Justin Padgett Gutang has not done any endorsement gigs — or, at least not yet. The shy guy does not know how his signature smirk can look any different in a five-hour photo shoot. However, with an admirable mindset that “anything goes and more” and a built that is perfect for modeling, he might, one day pose right in front of the cameras. “I am not sure if I can do it,” he hesitates with a laugh, “but maybe I can give it a try. Why not?”

Justin was born in California to both Filipino parents. The younger child of two of a close-knit family, he was a self-confessed spoiled brat who loved to follow his older sister around. He could tag along during his sister’s basketball practices and games, which served as his first exposure to the sport.

When he was 10, Justin was sent to live with his family in Bulacan, Philippines, to appreciate his Filipino roots, to learn the basics of Tagalog, and to embrace and explore his culture and heritage.

One afternoon, he was invited by his uncle, his cousins and their neighbors to play ball at the backyard where they installed a make-shift hoop. It was the first time that Justin had ever held an actual basketball. However, it was during this rare and one-year visit that he discovered and established something else ­— his love for basketball.

He returned home to the States and asked his sister to list him as a part of the organizational basketball team at school. Despite being into wrestling, he found himself slowly choosing the sport that he ultimately loved.

Justin attended Skyline Community College in San Bruno, California, where he finished a two-year course in Kinesiology, the study of body movement. At 20, he flew back to the Philippines to finally pursue the life of a student-athlete. Currently, he plays as the shooting guard and power forward, and is one of the star players of Benilde Blazers, the official varsity team of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) where he is currently taking up BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) Major in Export Management.

If Justin is not practicing or competing at the court, he just enjoys his own company and binge-watches horror and thrillers on Netflix to relax. He is well-disciplined, as he needs to wake up early the next day to practice. On holidays, he looks forward to the occasional wine or beer over meals.

Justin only has his eyes on his goal and that is to become a professional basketball player in the Philippines. Whatever the future brings, Justin knows that he will remain loyal to the loved ones and friends who helped him. He promised to stay rigid and focused as he learns to live an independent life towards achieving his dreams.

Justin weighs 200 lbs.; and wears medium-size shirts and size-13 shoes.

How do you keep yourself in tip-top shape?

“I just try to get into the gym every day even on some days when I feel too exhausted, I guess. I just think about my goal and what motivates me to give myself an extra boost and force myself to work out. I am really conscious of the condition of my body because I was once skinny when I first arrived in the Philippines.”

What if you were offered to model for a pair of pants?

“Hmmm, just a moment ­— wait, is there a shirt on or none?” (Laughs). “I don’t mind trying it out.”

How’s your diet?

“I must say, it’s just all right ­— not all that good. Since I live alone, I do not have a stove to cook on. It’s a challenge.”

What’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

“For breakfast: pancakes, bacon and orange juice. For lunch: Filipino rice meals and breakfast silogs. When I feel I’ve had enough of rice, I just grab a sandwich from deli shops. For dinner: Steak! My choice of drink for lunch and dinner are sports drinks, and lots and lots of water.“

Favorite food?

“It’s Japanese ­— sushi. But here in the Philippines, give me pork sinigang and kare-kare anytime.”

Snacks?

“Chips and salsa.”

How much water do you take per day?

“It seems like tons of water!”

What workout do you do?

“Arm workouts! And I’ve likewise been working on my upper body.”

What part of your body needs improvement?

“I’d say…core? Maybe abdominal muscles.”

What part of your body is your favorite?

“Abs?” (Laughs) “The six-pack-abs!” (More laughter).

What part of a girl’s body do you notice first?

“I think the whole body ­— to check if she is fit. I’ll look at her from head to toe?” (Smiles) “Then maybe, her legs.” (Laughs)

What turns you on and off in a girl?

“What turns me on is when she is very family-oriented, accepts my family and cares for others before herself. Oh, I just realized I described my girlfriend.” (Smiles). “What turns me off is when a girl swears a lot ­— may it be in Tagalog or English.”

How much sleep do you get per night?

“Five to six hours.”

How many pillows do you sleep with?

“I am happy with three. I like to feel safe (hugs himself). I have one on each side and another on my back.”

Favorite sleepwear?

“Boxers…just boxers.” (Laughs) “Why? It is so hot in the Philippines!” (Laughs)

Do you snore?

“Sometimes ­— and only when I am really exhausted.”

Do you talk in your sleep?

“My sister tells me that I talk in my sleep. If truly so, I must say I do not have any idea. However, my teammates haven’t complained yet so I don’t anymore.” (Laughs).

Do you sleepwalk?

“Before, yes, when I was younger! My sister would say that she would find me sleeping in front of the door. She would try to wake me up, but I wouldn’t respond, so she would just walk me back to bed. Today, I just hope I don’t sleepwalk anymore!” (Laughs)

Do you ever sleep in the nude?

“Yes, when I am alone.”

Last thing that you do before you go to sleep?

“I like to watch basketball videos.”

First thing that you do as soon as you wake up?

“Brush my teeth.”

When did you lose your innocence?

“Secret!” (Giggles)

Any preference: an older woman, younger woman or a woman your age?

“A woman my age.”

Lights on or lights off?

“Lights off.”

How’s your love life?

“Very stable.” (Smiles)

If you were to describe your love life as an ice cream, what would it be?

“Mint chocolate chip ­— it tastes good and it’s so cool! It’s like a welcome breeze while at the park.” (Laughs). “It’s actually my favorite ice cream flavor, followed by hazelnut.”

How’s your sex life?

“Secret again.” (Laughs)

And your nightlife?

“My ideal night life is just a movie night — alone.”

How do you cope with stress?

“I go to the basketball gym or work out by myself.”

Outlook in life?

“I like to remind myself of the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Whatever goes on in life — may it be good or bad — it could still lead to something good.”

Three women that you think have nice bodies?

“Of course, my girlfriend (unnamed), Jennifer Aniston and Meagan Good.”

Using only body language, how would you make a woman know that you admire her?

“My girlfriend said that there’s a look that I give her. I think that’s puppy eyes!”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

BASKETBALL DE LA SALLE-COLLEGE OF SAINT BENILDE JUSTIN GUTANG
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