Ricci Rivero up against tough field led by pro dunker David Carlos in NBTC slam-dunk title defense
Ricci Rivero is defending his slam-dunk title in the NBTC All-Star side event. Jaime Campos

RICCI Rivero of the De La Salle Green Archers will defend his Slam Dunk contest crown in the SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) All-Star Game that will be played on March 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Rivero, who won the crown last year while still playing for La Salle Greenhills, will be pitting his dunking skills anew against four other players that include Matthew Daves of Durham Crossover Canada and professional dunker David Carlos, who will fly all the way from China to participate.

Completing the cast of competitors in the dunk contest are Encho Serrano of Adamson and Juan Gomez de Liano of University of the Philippines Integrated School.

Rivero won the crown over Daves during last year's edition.

The dunk contest is part of the side event in the All-Star Game where the North All-Stars will take on their counterparts from the South.

Days before the All-Star Game, the SM-NBTC National High School Championship will also begin play on Monday where eight schools in Division 1 and 16 from Division 2 will compete for the crown.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports