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 as Obstacle Challenge champion in the PBA All-Stars Skills Challenge at the Calasiao Sports Complex here yesterday.
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 barely took the Obstacle Challenge in 21 seconds.
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.
Meanwhile, Javee Mocon scored a tip-in at the buzzer to help the Rookies-Sophomores produce a thrilling 141-140 victory over the Juniors in a PBA All-Star Weekend game here last night.
The Rain or Shine freshman came to the rescue after Jason Perkins missed three free throws with 3.3 seconds left and Perez failing to convert a baseline jumper to give the Rookies-Sophomores the win.