Rookies Tiu and Ellis new 3-point, slamdunk champs as Villanueva defends Obstacle titleBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Rookies Chris Tiu and Chris Ellis stood out while Jonas Villanueva kept his streak in their respective Skills Challenge on Friday night as the 2013 PBA All-Star weekend kicked off in Digos City in Davao.
Rain or Shine’s Tiu uncorked 21 points in the final round of the Three-point shootout, outscoring Alaska’s JVee Casio and Air21′s Niño Cañaleta.
Tiu dethroned Meralco’s Mark Macapagal, who didn’t make the final cut along San Mig Coffee’s James Yap, Petron’s Marcio Lassiter, Ginebra’s Josh Urbiztondo, and Global Port’s Willie Miller.
Meanwhile, Ellis lived up to his billing as the “Air Force,” and impressed the judges in the first two rounds with two spectacular throwdowns — a showcase of his tremendous hops.
Ellis, though, had a less perfect performance in the final round but it was still enough to get him the Slamdunk competition crown, as competitor Elmer Espiritu botched his second dunk.
Only Villanueva remained the defending champion in the annual festivities, showcasing his uncanny speed, accuracy and skills anew in the Obstacle challenge.
Villanueva clocked in at 26.3 seconds — the second best time in history — to extend his reign to four straight years, edging Pamboy Raymundo and Chris Ellis.
Raymundo finished last with 30.3 seconds while Ellis narrowly missed the victory, finishing with 28.1 seconds after he failed to dunk the ball in the final shot.