Reigning PBA slam dunk champion Chris Ellis has vowed to be as creative as possible as he defends his title against a host of high-flyers led by teammate Japeth Aguilar and San Mig Super Coffee rookie guard Justin Melton this Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The six-foot-four Ellis bagged the slam dunk title in last year's All-Star weekend in Digos City, Davao del Sur, capping his routine by replicating Vince Carter's iconic arm-inside-the-ring dunk in the finals to beat then Ginebra teammate Elmer Espiritu.
This year though, he expects the 6-9 Aguilar to give him a tough time, knowing that the athletic Ginebra forward has a lot of aces up his sleeves.
“This year, it’s gonna be a lot more challenging, especially since I didn’t have as much practice time as I would like,” Ellis told Spin.ph. “I’m pretty sure whatever dunk contest Japeth was in, he probably won it because Japeth is capable."
Ellis though isn’t counting out good friend Cliff Hodge of Meralco, who he said can also come up with some fancy dunks, or Alaska’s flamboyant forward Calvin Abueva in one of the three side events this Friday that starts at 5:30 p.m.
“Cliff Hodge, my friend, will be there and Calvin, I think everybody’s capable of putting something nice, put a good show for the fans,” added the sixth pick overall of Ginebra in the 2012 PBA rookie draft.
But that doesn't mean Ellis isn't planning another daring stunt.
After watching Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin’s jump over a Kia Optima vehicle for his title-clinching dunk in the NBA slam-dunk contest, the former Mary Liarden Baylor College standout said he is toying with the idea of dunking over a jeepney or someone.
“I actually thought about that, I mean, Blake Griffin jumped over a Kia, I was gonna jump over a jeepney or jump over the front hood or something,” Ellis said with a laugh. “But no, who knows who I jump over.”
Aside from Ellis, Melton, Hodge and Abueva, other participants in this year’s slam dunk contest are Meralco’s Rey Guevarra and Rain or Shine’s rookie Alex Nuyles, who replaced Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beer.