CHRIS Newsome admitted he was challenged to dunk on Arwind Santos after the San Miguel Beer star blocked his shot in the second quarter of Meralco’s 101-85 loss to the Beermen in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night.
The Bolts’ Filipino-American rookie guard flaunted his athleticism and leaping ability by scoring a one-handed slam dunk over Santos early in the third quarter, his motivation coming from one earlier play in the second quarter where the athletic SMB forward blocked his layup attempt.
“From that point, I figured he was going to try another one, so I thought I’d challenge him to an air battle and I was fortunate enough to get that one to go in,” Newsome said.
“Lucky enough, JD (Dillinger) gave me a good pass and I had a good gather, and I was able to take off and put it down,” the 6-foot-2 wingman added.
That was the highlight of Newsome’s solid pro debut that saw him register a team-high-tying 14 points, seven boards, four assists, and one block in 34 minutes.
“You could say that was the highlight that kind of announced that I am here in the PBA, that I finally made it to this level and I get to play with these guys,” the 25-year-old cager said.
Santos was surprised of the former Ateneo standout’s hops.
“Hindi ko rin akalain na lilipad ng ganun yun,” the man known as “Spiderman” admitted. “Yung challenge ko rin parang hilaw dahil kala ko layup lang. pero lumilipad din pala yung bata. Kasi yung batang yan, hindi ko naman nasubaybayan maglaro sa UAAP eh.
“Para sa akin, lesson yun,” Santos added. “Hindi porke’t nandyan ka na sa position na yan, (hindi mo na babantayan ng maayos). Kailangan paghandaan mo pa rin. Hindi ka mawawala sa game at focused ka pa rin.”
One dampener in Newsome’s debut was tweaking his ankle a few plays after scoring the dunk, an injury that he later shrugged off as he managed to return in the fourth quarter.
“I’m just thankful and I’m really blessed that it didn’t end up worse than what it really was,” Newsome said.