Guevarra, Melton share All-Star slam dunk title
MANILA, Philippines — Rey Guevarra and Justin Melton, high-leaping talents still trying to carve niches in the PBA, gave out a great show and were Friday night declared as co-champions of the annual Slam Dunk Contest of the All-Star Weekend.
Displaying varying styles, Guevarra, the Meralco reserve off guard, and Melton, the rookie who plays second fiddle at the point for San Mig Coffee, were tied the whole way as the Skills Challenge of the annual spectacle saw all of its defending champions fall by the wayside at Mall of Asia Arena.
Mark Barroca of San Mig Coffee, the Mixers’ starting point guard, won the Obstacle Challenge with plenty to spare, while Mark Macapagal, whose shooting style greatly resembles a machine in motion, reclaimed the Three-Point shootout crown after losing it last year to Chris Tiu in Davao Del Sur.
“I really got going, especially after I felt the crowd behind me after I made my first dunk,” Melton, who stands a shade under 5-foot-10 but can reach 11 feet when he jumps, told reporters.
Guevarra, who won a Slam Dunk title while with Letran in the NCAA, made the first perfect dunk of 40 points right in the first round, when he took off from the baseline with very little acceleration and flushed it home after moving the ball between his legs.
Not to be outdone, Melton put two small SMC utility boys inside the no-charge zone, leapt over them and with a tomahawk chopping motion hammered it down with the left hand that got four 10s from the judges—cage greats Bogs Adornado, Atoy Co, celebrity host Ramon Bautista and PBA Press Corps president Barry Pascua of Bandera.
Both settled for 39s in their next dunks and made the finals with 79-point totals, ousting defending champion Chris Ellis of Barangay Ginebra, who had a 70, Alex Nuyles of Rain or Shine (56), Calvin Abueva of Alaska (72), Japeth Aguilar of Ginebra (65) and Cliff Hodge of Meralco (56).
Macapagal topped the elimination round with 23 points and then scored 24 in the final round to dethrone Tiu, who had 22, with Alaska’s JV Casio finishing third with 20.
An innovation was introduced in the Three-Point Shootout with one rack having five money balls of two points each, and Macapagal used this to the hilt by draining all five in the finals.
Guevarra came from the baseline again for his first dunk in the finals, and while in mid-air, pumped the ball so low before ramming it down with two hands reverse style for his second perfect score.
Melton answered right back when he bounced the ball off the hardcourt and grabbed it with two hands to also flush it down reverse with both hands.
Clearly, their final dunks were the highlights of the night.
Starting off from halfcourt, Guevarra took off just a step inside the 15-foot line and spun in the reverse direction for 180-degrees to dunk it with the right hand for another 40.
Melton tied it again after bouncing the ball off the floor, taking off before the no-charge zone and then grabbing the ball in mid-air with his left hand to finish it off with authority.