Canaleta nails 5th–‘and last’–Slam Dunk titleBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LAOAG—Nino “KG” Canaleta of Barangay Ginebra jumped over four men and scored two perfect jams in the final round of the Slam Dunk Contest to extend his unprecedented victory streak to five in the side event of the PBA All-Star Weekend here yesterday.
The creative 6-foot-7 high-flyer soared over three people in his final attempt, with 6-9 Meralco slotman Asi Taulava as the last man in the formation to nip B-Meg’s JC Intal, 100-99.
“The original plan was for Asi to leave before my take-off,” Canaleta said in Filipino shortly after receiving the plaque and the P20,000 champion’s prize. “But you know Asi, he’d give everything to please the fans, even with the chance of him getting hurt.”
Canaleta later declared that this was his Slam Dunk stint.
“I have nothing to prove anymore,” Canaleta told reporters. “I was missing dunks already. Sumasabit pa sa tao. So that’s it for me (in the event).”
Canaleta, who also triumphed from 2005-2007 and then again in 2010, did clip Taulava’s head with his left thigh, but not after having flushed the attempt down.
Intal, cleared by team doctors to participate just the day before because of a left ankle sprain, was the surprise runner-up, with his final dunk—a full 360-degree turn going to the left—also eliciting a perfect 50.
Gabe Norwood, the 2009 champion, scored two 50s in his dunks in the eliminations but sputtered with a 93 in the finals. Arwind Santos of Petron Blaze was fourth, while Elmer Espiritu of Air21 brought up the rear.