Canaleta pulls out of PBA Slam Dunk contest, picks Ellis to win it | Inquirer Sports

Canaleta pulls out of PBA Slam Dunk contest, picks Ellis to win it

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 08:36 PM February 24, 2015

MANILA, Philippines — NLEX forward Niño Canaleta has pulled out of the Slam Dunk contest of the 2015 PBA All-Star festivities slated from March 5-8 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Canaleta said that he needs to rest both of his knees which he fears may swell if he forces himself to participate.

The 33-year-old Canaleta added that he also might not be able to give the kind of aerial show the fans are expecting from him with his body not in its best shape.

” I’m reluctant because I’m not a 100 percent. I won’t be able to perform like I used to before. If I force it, I might suffer and my knee might swell,”said Canaleta, who is already in his ninth season in the league after being drafted sixth overall in the 2005 Draft by defunct Air21, in Filipino.

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“I need to rest my knee, it’s already sore.”

The 6-foot-6 Canaleta has been a fixture in the event having won it five times. He was crowned the Slam Dunk king for three years in a row from 2005-2007 before winning it again in 2010 and 2012.

With him out of the picture, Canaleta picks Ginebra guard Chris Ellis to win over Purefoods’ Justin Melton, Meralco’s Rey Guevarra, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, Barako Bull’s JC Intal, Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar and Talk ‘N Text rookie Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.

“There’s a big chance Ellis will still win it. He still has some tricks up his sleeve. Last year, he was still nervous so this year there is less pressure.”

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The 6-foot-5 Ellis was crowned Slam Dunk champion two years ago. Melton and Guevarra were co-winners last year when the All-Star weekend was held here at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Now, he’s at his peak when it comes to his athleticism,” Canaleta added.

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Canaleta, who will still participate in the Three-point Shootout, said begging off was a tough decision knowing that the fans would’ve wanted to see him perform.

“If I could, I have no problems joining for the fans. But they might not see what they are expecting from me.”

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TAGS: Basketball, Chris Ellis, Justin Melton, Nino Canaleta, Rey Guevarra, Slam Dunk, Sports

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