by Jonas Terrado
CALASIAO, Pangasinan — Rey Guevarra captured a record-tying fifth Slam Dunk crown, PJ Simon became the new Three-Point king and Beau Belga remained the Obstacle Challenge champion in the PBA All-Stars Skills Challenge here.
With help from teammates from Phoenix Pulse teammates, Guevarra edged Blackwater’s Renz Palma in a dunk-off with a perfect score of 50 to equal KG Canaleta’s record for most wins in the Slam Dunk contest.
Magnolia’s Simon became the successor to James Yap’s throne after scoring 17 points in the finals for his first career Three-Point crown while Belga of Rain or Shine narrowly took the Obstacle Challenge in 21.0 seconds.
The competitions served as an appetizer to the game between the Rookies-Sophomores and Juniors which was being played at press time at the Calasiao Sports Complex in this city.
But before the PBA’s top young stars took center stage, Guevarra displayed his aerial artistry despite nursing a strained groin sustained in practice to claim another plaque.
He survived a fierce challenge from Palma in a rematch of last year’s contest by winning the dunk-off with a slam past a line of Phoenix teammates as if it was a parting of the red sea.
“Gusto ko rin manalo kasi ayoko rin mapahiya sa mga teammates ko kasi pinractice namin tas hindi ako papasok sa finals,” said Guevarra.
Palma settled for another runner-up finish after failing to convert one of his attempts during the dunk-off. Columbian rookie CJ Perez was the other finalist while NorthPort’s Lervin Flores was the first to be eliminated.
Simon came in as an unexpected winner in a contest that had Rain or Shine’s Yap, San Miguel Beer’s Marcio Lassiter and Phoenix’s Matthew Wright.
The veteran guard nearly lost the crown as NorthPort’s Robert Bolick missed his final attempt which was a money ball worth two points.
Bolick finished second with 16 points while NLEX’s Philip Paniamogan had 14 in the finals. Yap was eliminated after scoring just 12 points.
In the Obstacle, Belga edged Columbian’s Russell Escoto by a few-tenths of a second in the finals which was a full obstacle course.
Belga beat Magnolia’s Kyle Pascual and Meralco’s Bryan Faundo in the first two rounds to reach the finals.