Puerto Princesa, Palawan – Meralco guard Rey Guevarra put on another heart-stopping show with his aerial artistry, while Globalport ace guard Terrence Romeo proved his deadly outside shooting in the PBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge Friday night at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum here.
The two were the big winners in the Skills Challenge as Guevarra repeated as champion in the Slam Dunk Contest, while the sophomore Romeo won for the first time in the Three-Point Shootout contest.
The two went home with the top prize money of P60,000 each put up by the PBA Commissioner’s Office and Nickel Asia Corporation.
The 6-foot-3 Guevarra, who won the competition last year with Purefoods Star guard Justin Melton at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City, ruled the event as he edged Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Japeth Aguilar in the final round, including the dunk-off.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar actually topped the two-round elimination with a combined score of 95 points (50-45), while Guevarra, who just recovered from a left hamstring injury, came in second with 93 points (45-48).
Aguilar went first in the finals as he bounced the ball to the board for a windmill dunk that gave him a 48 from the five judges, but Guevarra bested him with a 49 as he jumped over Meralco teammate Reynel Hugnatan – on a chair inside the shaded lane who threw a lob pass for a one-handed slam.
The two had similar dunks in the second round of the finals as Aguilar leaped over Talk ’N Text rookie Kevin Alas, who held the ball above his head, while Guevarra did it with NLEX’s Simon Atkins.
Aguilar got a score of 49 points, while Guevarra was given 48 points – thus forcing a dunk-off.
Guevarra took advantage of the situation when Aguilar was given a 46 when he jumped almost three-feet after the free throw line, executing his ‘favorite’ dunk of between the legs as he took off from the left baseline.
The former Letran College stalwart said he was very nervous since he know for himself that he’s not a hundred percent yet.
“Kina-kabahan nga ako, dahil lahat ng mga dunks na ginawa ko e first time ko lang na-try since nung naka-balik sa injury,” said Guevarra, who was runner-up in 2011 to Kelly Williams.
“Sobrang thankful talaga ako kasi ka-kagaling ko lang sa injury (left hamstring),” added Guevarra, referring to the injury that has sidelined him this conference but is looking forward to return to the roster of Meralco mentor Norman Black.
With the win, Guevarra became the third player to win back-to-back titles after Vergel Meneses (1992-1993) and NLEX’s KG Canaleta, a five-time champion from 2005 to 2007, 2010 and 2012.
Other participants in the dunk contest also entertained the crowd with their performances, including last year’s co-winner Justin Melton of Purefoods, JC Intal of Barako Bull and Matt Rosser-Ganuelas of TNT.
The 5-foot-9 Melton missed his first dunk attempt and was given 25 points, executing what probably the most hilarious attempt when Purefoods teammate Joe Devance took off his shirt, used it to cover Melton’s eyes, and then the latter ran towards the basket, jumped and bounced the ball hard in the floor as if he threw down a big dunk.