DIGOS CITY - Barangay Ginebra’s high-flying rookie Chris Ellis brought the house down by replicating former NBA champion Vince Carter’s arm-in-the-ring dunk in the finals to become the pro league’s newest Slam Dunk King on Friday’s Annual All-Star festivities at the Davao del Sur Coliseum.
After hinting that he had an 'ace up his sleeve' for the dunkfest, the 6-4 Ellis, a fan favorite here, soared high enough to put his entire arm inside the ring in a dunk he performed with the help of his former PBA D-League teammate and current Meralco rookie Cliff Hodge.
After botching his first attempt in the second round of the dunk finals, Hodge took the ball near the rim from a lob by Hodge before slamming in the rim-rattling dunk.
He finished with a two-round finals total of 93 points to beat Ginebra teammate Elmer Espiritu, who finished with 70 after running out of time in his second attempt in the finals. He won P20,000.
“Of course, there’s pressure because Elmer is a high-flyer,” said the soft-spoken Ellis, who managed to take the slam dunk title after five-time reigning champion Nino Canaleta of Air21 opted to shift to the three-point shootout.
The Ginebra stalwart became just the fifth rookie to win the `Slam' title after Gabe Norwood (2009), Brandon Cablay (2003), Joey Mente (2001), and Vergel Meneses (1992).
Ellis, Barangay Ginebra’s sixth overall pick in this season’s rookie draft, said he was dedicating his dunk title to team manager and PBA legend Samboy Lim for mentoring him and showing him new ways to improve his craft in basketball.
“He (Lim) shows me ways how to attack the rim so that’s what I did tonight. And I did this for him,” he added.
Ellis said he’s ready to defend his slam dunk title, promising to make his moves more fluid in the 2014 PBA All-Star festivities.