Guevarra, Yap reclaim PBA side event titles
BATANGAS—Showing off a new dunk, Rey Guevarra ruled the Slam Dunk event of the PBA All Star festivities Friday and put himself in position to go for the all-time record.
James Yap, on the other hand, won the Three-Point Shootout for the first time in nine years and earned validation for himself that he’s still as deadly as he’s ever been.
Guevarra, the Phoenix high-flyer, pulled out an off-the-bounce windmill for a perfect 40 in his dunkoff with little-known Renz Palma to rule the event for the fourth time in the last five years.
That was enough to outlast Palma, whose 360-degree dunk from near the foul line only got 39 points.
“This is the hardest (Slam Dunk) contest I’ve ever been in,” Guevarra said. “Everybody knew what dunks I could do, so I was really forced to show off some new slams.”
Guevarra jumped over a motorcycle and teammate JC Intal in one of his finals dunks to delight the Batangas City Coliseum crowd here.
The two finalists ended up tied with 75 points each after two dunks.
“I was really challenged by him. Because of him, I had to raise the bar so that I could edge him,” he said.
Another victory in this event would allow Guevarra to tie KG Canaleta for most dunk titles won.
“In God’s time, let’s see if I could still do it. If I get the chance, I will really try to get that fifth championship,” he said.
Yap, the former two-time MVP, tallied 24 points to nip Stanley Pringle and triumph for the first time since 2009.
“I can still do it,” Yap, who won nine years ago while still playing for Purefoods, sighed after capturing the crown.
Making the most of the money balls, Yap drained the first nine out of the available 10 colored balls that ultimately spelled the difference. Pringle totaled 21 with Terrence Romeo, another former winner in the field, shooting 16.
“I just put it in my mind that those (money balls) were the most important in the rack, and every time they went in, it only added to my confidence,” he said.
Blackwater’s Allein Maliksi, who won the event last year, could only score 11 points, the lowest in the first round.
Also participating in the event were Ronald Tubid, Matthew Wright, LA Tenorio, Paul Lee, Marcio Lassiter, Canaleta, JVee Casio, and Larry Fonacier.
“I’m just happy to win after nine years,” said Yap. “I’ve been doing some extra shooting in practice and I’m glad I was able to bring it in the competition. I just felt really good today.”
Beau Belga won the day’s other side event—the Obstacle Challenge—where, in a new twist this season, big men took part in.
Belga had no hitches in his run in the championship round, finishing the track in 21.7 seconds.
“I was just challenged because it was my teammate (point guard Maverick Ahanmisi) who is the defending champion,” he said.
JP Erram finished second at 29.6 seconds, while Gabby Espinas clocked in 30.5 seconds.
Justin Chua, Kelly Nabong, and Yousef Taha all made it to the semifinals, while Russel Escoto, Sonny Thoss, Aldrech Ramos, Ken Bono, Asi Taulava and Raymond Aguilar all bowed out in the first round.
Yap hopes his victory, along with that of Belga, would mean something for their team.
“We hope its a start of something good for Rain or Shine again,” said Yap.
The champions of the side events won P30,000 each. —WITH A REPORT FROM CEDELF P. TUPAS