PUERTO PRINCESA – Rey Guevarra tore a page from idol Kobe Bryant's playbook as he retained his crown in the 2015 PBA MyPhone Slam Dunk contest on Friday at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum.
The high-flying Meralco guard executed a Bryant-inspired dunk that had a between-the-legs twist to earn a perfect score of 50 points in the slam-off against Barangay Ginebra big man Japeth Aguilar.
Held to a 97-point deadlock by the lanky 6-foot-9 Aguilar after the two-round finals, Guevara decided to go for one of his favorite dunk moves of all-time.
“Idol ko si Kobe Bryant saka 'yun talaga favorite dunk ko,” he said of the same dunk that won for Bryant the 1997 NBA slam contest.
Guevarra, who shared last year’s title with Justin Melton, won the cash prize worth P60,000 after earning a perfect score from the five-man panel of judges composed of Ginebra alternate governor Alfrancis Chua, Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy, NickelAsia vice president for corporate affairs JB Baylon, TV 5 panelist Nikko Ramos, and veteran PBA reporter Nelson Beltran of the Philippine Star.
The former Letran wingman now joins an elite cast of multiple dunk winners led by five-time champion KG Canaleta, Kelly Williams, Vergel Meneses, and Don Camaso – all former two-time champions.
Aguilar again came short of winning the crown as his Michael Jordan act of taking off from the free throw line for a slam could only earn him a total of 46 points in the slam-off.
The 28-year-old Guevarra admitted coming into the contest hardly prepared.
“Siyempre, sobrang thankful din ako, saka nag-pray lang ako na bigyan ako ng lakas, 'yung kontrolado ko lang. Di kasi ako nakapag-practice ng dunks ko, saka yung mga ginawa ko kanina, first time ko lang ginawa dahil na injure nga ako,” said the Meralco player, who is coming off a left hamstring injury.
Now he wants to equal if not surpass the record of Canaleta in future editions of the slam dunk contest.
“Sa ngayon syempre, masaya ako. Pero ang goal ko, malagpasan ko 'yun (two titles) saka hopefully, kung ma-blessed tayo ng walang injury, ita-try ko,” he said.