HIGH-FLYING Barangay Ginebra wingman Chris Ellis is pulling out of the PBA Slam Dunk competition after aggravating injuries on both of his ankles during workout early this week.
The 6-foot-4 Ellis told Spin.ph that he was eager to try and reclaim the title he lost last year to co-champions Justin Melton of Purefoods Star and Meralco’s Rey Guevara, but he hurt himself during individual practice.
“I have been rehabilitating and strengthening my injuries since acquiring them last conference,” Ellis told Spin.ph late Tuesday night.
“But earlier this week, after a week of two-a-days (practice), I tweaked and agitated my ankles, causing it to swell up,” he added.
Five-time dunk champion Nino Canaleta of NLEX was the first to pull out of the competition due to a knee issue.
[See Five-time champion KG Canaleta pulling out of slam dunk contest, cites knee problem]
But while “Air Force Ellis” will be grounded for this week’s highly anticipated side event for the PBA All-Star Weekend, the former Mary Liardon Baylor standout intends to be back in fine form when Ginebra returns to action next Wednesday against NLEX in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“It’s (injury) nothing out of the ordinary or anything to worry about, but my main and only focus is to be healthy come the NLEX game,” said the 26-year-old Ellis.
Even without Ellis, who won the 2013 edition in Digos City, Davao after doing the “elbow dunk” of NBA star Vince Carter, the Ginebra wingman believes the Slam Dunk contest this week remains competitive.
“The dunk contest is gonna be amazing this year and I know (Ginebra teammate) Japeth (Aguilar) is gonna go all-out,” he said.
The soft-spoken Ellis added that Melton and Guevara will definitely have their hands full for this year’s crown, owing to the presence of Alaska’s Calvin Abueva and even Talk ’N Text rookie forward Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.