Yankee Haruna wins NCAA Slam Dunk crown after Eugene Toba's gamble backfires
Yankee Haruna jams over Brandon Vera for his final attempt to win the Slam Dunk contest. Dante Peralta

BENILDE'S Yankee Haruna had already conceded defeat after missing his ambitious attempt in the final round of the NCAA All-Star Slam Dunk contest. 

But fate made a surprise turn in the second stage of the final dunk-off as a costly miss from San Beda's Eugene Toba handed the Slam Dunk crown to Haruna at the Filoil Flying V Centre on Friday.  

Haruna failed to flush down what could have been a highlight slam in trying to dunk over three teammates, ending up with a default 30 points for the botched jam.

On the other hand, Toba wowed the crowd with an off-the-bounce, 180 throwdown that earned him 46 points. 

In the second round of the finals, Haruna jammed it down after leaping over One champion Brandon Vera, who was also one of the judges, to garner 49 points and 79 overall.

Needing just 34 points to seal the deal, Toba opted to finish with a bang instead of going for a safe attempt. Unfortunately for the Nigerian reinforcement, he failed to complete the dunk as time expired, with Haruna winning the title via a slim three-point lead.

"I didn't think I was gonna win after that fall. I was just hoping he's gonna miss his last dunk," said Haruna, who was seen celebrating after Toba failed to complete his last try.  

To arrange the faceoff against Toba, Haruna had to first beat Lervin Flores in a dunk-off for a spot to the finals. 

Haruna scored a perfect 50 points for a windmill dunk off the bounce, which was actually a replacement dunk. 

Fortunately for him, Flores made an underwhelming one-handed throwdown to register just 46 points.

Other participants were Lyceum's 5-foot-6 Jaycee Marcelino, who was a point short of making the next round, EAC's Sidney Onwubere, San Sebastian's Allyn Bulanadi, and Perpetual's Rommel Mangalino.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros