SAN Mig’s high-flying rookie guard Justin Melton and Meralco swingman Rey Guevarra both came out with back-to-back perfect scores in the two-round finals to emerge as co-champions in this year’s PBA slam dunk competition on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Melton, the shortest competitor at 5-9 and without doubt the crowd favorite, readily brought the crowd to its feet when he jumped over two San Mig utility men for a one-handed dunk right on his first attempt.
The former Mt. Olive College standout then tore a page off former NBA slam-dunk champion Spud Webb's playbook in the finals, pulling off a two-handed reverse dunk and an amazing elevator left-handed slam dunk for perfect 40-point scores from the four judges.
On the other hand, Guevarra beat out the likes of Chris Ellis and Japeth Aguilar to make it as a surprise finalist then held his own against the sentimental favorite Melton.
Guevarra earned two perfect scores of 40 points after executing a difficult baseline reverse dunk during the first round of the finals, before adding a graceful mid-air spin on the way to a rim-rattling dunk to get another 40-point score from the four judges.
After the two-round dunks, both were declared co-champions though the loudest cheer easily went to crowd favorite Melton due to his ability to soar despite his size.
“The Spud Webb dunk came from the request from my Twitter followers but I felt comfortable doing it,” said a beaming Melton after the dunk contest.
The four judges were PBA legends Atoy Co and Bogs Adornado, PBA Press Corps president Barry Pascua and celebrity Ramon Bautista.
Although he had to face the likes of Ellis, the 2013 Slam Dunk champion, and Aguilar, both notable dunkers in the league, Melton said he never felt any kind of intimidation at all despite his size.
“There’s no intimidation but I just came here to have fun. It’s not about the height but it’s about what you do,” added the 27-year-old Mixers rookie.
Meantime, Guevarra said he was surprised to beat the likes of Ellis, Aguilar and even Alaska’s Calvin Abueva considering that he struggled to perfect his dunks during practice.
“Sobrang pressure, saka kinakabahan nga ako dahil sa practice, di ko ma-shoot yung between the legs ko,” he said. “Kanina na lang sa adrenaline ng dunk, nagawa ko naman.”