SMB guard Jeric Fortuna leaves favorites in the shade by ruling Obstacle Challenge
Jeric Fortuna of San Miguel beat four-time champion Jonas Villanueva of NLEX and Alaska rookie Chris Banchero in the finals of the Obstacle Challenge. Jerome Ascano

PUERTO Princesa, Palawan - San Miguel Beer sophomore guard Jeric Fortuna used his speed as well as steely nerves in the finals to reign supreme in the Obstacle Challenge event in the PBA All-Star Weekend on Friday at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum.

The former University of Santo Tomas guard clocked 32 seconds in the preliminaries to finish No. 2 among the 12 participants in the annual side show. 

Alaska rookie Chris Banchero topped the preliminary round with 28 seconds, while four-time champion Jonas Villanueva checked in at 34 seconds.

Fortuna, however, showed tremendous composure in the final round despite muffing his first of three three-point attempts to secure his first major individual title as a pro.

“Inisip ko lang kung ano kailangan kong gawin, wala ng iba kasi siyempre, nung papunta dito, alam ko, kasali ako saka nagdasal lang ako,” said the 23-year-old Fortuna, who topped the finals of the blitz game with 32.1 seconds.

He also credited Villanueva and Meralco guard Simon Atkins for giving him tips on the right approach to the Obstacle Challenge.

“Mga nagturo sa akin, si Jonas at Simon Atkins. Si Jonas kasi four-time champion na,” shared Fortuna, who earned the P60,000 top cash prize.

“Sabi nga sa akin, yung bounce pass ang pinakamahirap, saka nagkakatalo daw talaga sa three-point shooting, kaya nag-relax lang ako.”

Villanueva, who won the Obstacle Challenge from 2010-2013, came in second with 37.7 seconds, while Banchero finished third with 44.9.

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