Cesafi players, coaches, fans fume as odd rule turns slam dunk contest into a 'sham'
Miguel Gastador of USJ-R never got to display his full repertoire of dunks due to a contentious rule limiting the Cesafi Slam Dunk contestants to one attempt in the preliminaries. Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY – When the champion himself voices his objections to the competition he had just won, you know there really is a problem.

Two days after the underwhelming Cesafi slam dunk competition won by the University of the Visayas’ Leonard Santillan, players, coaches and fans were still aghast over the shoddy rule that limited participants to a single attempt at a dunk in the qualifying round which they felt robbed an exciting crop of high-flyers the opportunity to put on a show.

Santillan shared he had prepared several dunks for the competition including one wherein he would don a 'Superman' costume. Unfortunately, he never got to showcase that creative streak with the dunkers intent on just making their attempts rather than trying out acrobatic but risky attempts.

“Sayang. Hindi ko nagamit ang costume. Ang pangit talaga ng format. Isang dunk lang, hindi kagaya last year,” shared Santillan.

It also meant that the University of San Jose-Recoletos Miguel Gastador and UV’s Rey 'The Flying Carpet' Suerte, who were electrifying the crowd with some thrilling dunks during the warm-ups got eliminated after muffing their attempts, with higher degrees of difficulty of course, in the first round.

Even though his ward won, UV head coach Gary Cortes also shared his two cents on the debacle.

“Dapat three dunks per participant sa first round para mapakita ng mga bata ang kakayahan nila. Sayang si (Miguel) Gastador at (Rey) Suerte. Tsaka dapat yung made dunk ang iskoran nila, huwag yung miss.”

He continued, “Although si (Leonard) Santillan ang nanalo, maraming na-miss yung mga fans. Si Suerte reserved at least six dunks.”

Fans also did not hesitate to share their disappointment on the league’s official Facebook page.

“The slam dunk contest is a total disappointment. First round with one dunk attempt per contestant eliminated dunk favorites USJ-R 's Gastador and USC's (Charles) Pepito. Thus it failed to showcase the talent and dunking creativity of the all-star event participants,” said Renen Pepito.

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