GINEBRA'S high-flying forward Japeth Aguilar admitted being pressed for time as he tries to think out of the box and come up witn new dunk ideas in a bid to upstage teammate Chris Ellis in Friday’s PBA Slam Dunk contest at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 6-9 Aguilar, noted for his emphatic dunks during PBA games, picked Ellis and San Mig Super Coffee’s pint-sized rookie guard Justin Melton as two of the toughest dunkers he’ll be facing this year in the most anticipated side event of the All-Star Weekend.
Ellis ruled last year’s edition after replicating former NBA champion Vince Carter’s arm-in-the-ring dunk in the finals before wildly-cheering fans in Digos City, Davao del Sur - incidentally the same dunk Aguilar pulled off in 2006 when he won the Slam Dunk contest in Western Kentucky University’s Midnight Madness.
Now the Ginebra star is in search of new dunks to pull off.
“The thing is, dahil sa dunk niya (Ellis) last year, yung ibang mga dunks niya dun, ginagawa ko rin, so nauubusan din ako ng tricks because he already did it (arm-in-the-ring dunk) and the fans already saw it from him. So ayoko naman ulitin na yun,” Aguilar shared to Spin.ph.
The 26-year-old Gilas Pilipinas mainstay said he also sees Melton as another strong contender. At 5-9, the San Mig rookie is the shortest participant in the contest that also features Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, San Miguel Beer’s Arwind Santos, and Meralco’s Cliff Hodge and Rey Guevarra.
Aguilar said he intends to ask new Ginebra import Josh Powell for some ideas he may have learned from Kobe Bryant during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 31-year-old Powell is set to debut on Wednesday against the Bolts, just a day after arriving straight from Los Angeles.
“Oo nga, I’ll probably ask him (Powell on dunk ideas),” said Aguilar.