NBA
Guevarra defends slam dunk crown at PBA All-Star
Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - March 6, 2015 - 8:07pm

PUERTO PRINCESA – Rey Guevarra, though barely back from a hamstring injury, managed to showcase his aerial artistry and perfectly executed his pet in-between-the-legs throw-down in the finale to retain the coveted slam dunk crown in the PBA All-Star Skills Challenge at the City Coliseum here Friday night.

Guevarra, the fifth year Meralco slasher, beat Japeth Aguilar in a dunk-off after repulsing the challenges of 2014 co-champ Justin Melton, JC Intal and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser in the eliminations, thus, becoming only the third back-to-back PBA slam dunk king after Vergel Meneses and KG Canaleta.

Earlier, two sophomore pro players in Terrence Romeo of Globalport and Jeric Fortuna of San Miguel Beer emerged the bewildered winners of the Three-Point Shootout and the Obstacle Challenge.

The three champs received P60,000 each from the PBA and the event host NickelAsia.

“I was so nervous because I’ve been back for just a week and I wasn’t able to practice coming from a hamstring injury. I’m a little heavy and I was surprised I was able to pull it off,” said Guevarra.

“Before my final dunk, I was really nervous and I just kept on praying,” said the Negrense player of his winning slam – a Kobe Bryant stuff – drawing a perfect 50 from the panel of judges composed of NickelAsia’s JB Baylon, Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy, Barangay Ginebra official Alfrancis Chua, TV5’s Nicko Ramos and this Philippine STAR sportswriter.

Guevarra and Aguilar figured in a dunk-off after coming through with identical score of 97 points in the first two rounds of the final. The two earlier topped the elims with Aguilar drawing 95 points and Guevarra 93.

In the slam-off, the 6-foot-9 Ginebra center-forward took the floor first, going through the length of the court and taking off a step after the free-throw line for a throw-down that earned 46 points.

Guevarra topped Aguilar’s stuff by perfectly performing a sequence that he missed during the elims, running from the left flank, elevating then shifting the ball from his left hand to right – in between the legs – for a rim-rattler that sent the crowd in a frenzy.

The former Gilas Pilipinas pool player drew a perfect 50 and snared yet another crown in addition to slam dunk championships he won as a collegiate player at Letran.

Aguilar topped the elims earlier with a performance highlighted by a powerful two-hander after soaring past Kevin Alas.

In the second round of the final, the two players performed almost the same dunk with Aguilar again jumping over Alas and Guevarra hurdling past Simon Atkins.

Romeo drained 18 points in the elims and drilled in the same score in the finals to beat all comers in the Three-Point Shootout, including former five-time winner Mark Macapagal and three other past champs in James Yap, Jimmy Alapag and Chris Tiu.

The losing finalists were Yap and Intal with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Curiously, Yap had had 12 points through the third rack but lost steam in the last two racks.

Out after the elims were Macapagal (16), Alapag (15), KG Canaleta (15), Tiu (14), LA Tenorio (13), LA Revilla (10), Brian Heruela (10), Chris Banchero (9), Arwind Santos (6).

In the Obstacle Challenge, Fortuna triumphed in negotiating the skills course (doing layups, passes and a three-point shot) in 32.1 seconds in the finals.

Former three-time winner Jonas Villanueva settled for second at 37.7 seconds and Banchero third at 44.9.

In the elims, Banchero timed 28.0, Fortuna 32.0, Villanueva 34.0, Jayson Castro 37.0, deposed titlist Mark Barroca 38.0, Revilla 38.0, Atkins 38.0, Paul Lee 39.0, Tenorio 42.0, Stanley Pringle 44.0, RR Garcia 44.0, and Heruela 44.0.

AGUILAR ALAS AND GUEVARRA ALFRANCIS CHUA ALL-STAR SKILLS CHALLENGE ARWIND SANTOS BANCHERO BARANGAY GINEBRA BRIAN HERUELA CANALETA GUEVARRA
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