THIS year’s PBA Slam Dunk contest will again be without the most accomplished high-flyer of the All-Star weekend.
KG Canaleta said he is pulling out from this year’s dunk contest, owing to a delicate knee worn out by the wear and tear of playing competitive basketball.
Canaleta is a five-time winner of the league’s slam dunk meet, but skipped the last two editions of the contest.
“Magpapaalam ako na mag-withdraw na (in the dunk contest) kasi di ba sa Three-Point (shootout) din kasali ako? Eh parang retired na ako dun (dunk contest) dahil kapag nag-dunk pa ako, nagkaka-tubig yung tuhod ko pag nape-pwersa,” Canaleta told Spin.ph.
Canaleta, who just turned 33 last week, admitted he would have loved to join the contest that features 2014 co-champions Justin Melton of Purefoods and Rey Guevarra of Meralco together, former title holder Chris Ellis of Barangay Ginebra and teammate Japeth Aguilar.
“Nandun na (challenge of dunking against Melton and Co.), pero parang sugal kasi. Nakaka-dunk pa naman ako pero di na yung competitive, baka magsawa na rin yung mga tao,” he added.
Nobody in the 40-year history of the league has dominated the annual dunk contest like Canaleta, who won the side event three straight year from 2005 to 2007, before doing the trick again in 2010 and 2012.
Now, Canaleta said he’d rather concentrate on the Three-Point Shootout.
The former University of the East forward said he’ll try to win the shootout contest after losing to four-time champion Mark Macapagal in Laoag, Ilocos Norte during the 2012 edition of the midseason spectacle.
League media bureau chief Willie Marcial meanwhile, clarified that as long as the reason for pulling out is valid, the PBA will not force Canaleta to participate in the dunk contest.
“Wala namang sigurong problema dun kasi kung may injury naman,” said Marcial.
This year’s Annual All-Stars will be held in Puerto Princesa, Palawan from March 6-8.
Other than the dunk contest and the three-point shootout, other side events to be held include the Obstacles Challenge and the Rookies vs. Sophomore game to be held on March 6.
The centerpiece All-Star game featuring North vs. South happens two days later.