KING JAMES, 2 GINEBRA KINGS RULE ALL-STAR SKILLS EVENTS

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20090426

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KING JAMES, 2 GINEBRA KINGS RULE ALL-STAR SKILLS EVENTS




Norwood is locals’ slam dunk champ

PUREFOODS' James Yap had a record-tying performance and Barangay Ginebra import David Noel showed his true stuff to emerge as the biggest winners in Sunday's Skills Competitions of the PBA's 2009 All-Star Week.

Yap picked up from where he left off in the first round to score 21 points and end a four-year wait for the Three-Point Shootout title, beating San Miguel Beer's Dondon Hontiveros and Burger King's Gary David in the finals.

“Four years akong nag-try kunin ito sa set shot pero ngayon nag-jump shot ako. Buti na lang nakuha ko ngayon,” said Yap, whose final output tied the record set by William Antonio of Coca-Cola in the 2006 All-Star Game in Cagayan de Oro City since the All-Star Games were institutionalized in 1989.

The 2006 league MVP also bagged the P20,000 purse after sinking all the five balls on the last rack for a 17 and then draining 9 of his first 10 balls in the finals. He easily won out over Hontiveros' 15 and Gary David's eight.

Noel, meanwhile, emerged victorious in the Imports' category of the Slam Dunk contest before beating local winner Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine in the champions' dunk-off of the event.

Both victories were worth P10,000 from event sponsor Vitwater.

Noel final dunk was the same one which won for him the 2006 US NCAA Final Four Slam Dunk contest while with the eventual tournament champion North Carolina Tar Heels, but only after his co-competitors missed their respective tries.

The same held true when SMB's Gabe Freeman and Sta. Lucia Realty's Anthony Johnson missed tries that could have given them better scores. Noel came up with 83 points after two rounds, just one better than Freeman.

He left little doubters in the dunk-off, first executing a power windmill followup for a perfect 50 and following that up with a 360-degree, two-handed dunk after first performing a cartwheel and backward sommersault. That stunt earned him another 50 for a 100 total.

After netting a 46 on his first dunk, Norwood had little chance even though he tried a mini-cartwheel and followed up a toss-up off the board by teammate Solomon Mercado on his second dunk. He then kneeled in front of the judges, imploring them for a high score. He got a 48 to wind up six points behind Noel.

Shootout defending champion Renren Ritualo of Talk ‘N Text actually finished with 19 in the eliminations but SIX points were deducted from his total after he shot the bonus ball too early twice.

Purefoods' KG Canaleta saw his bid for a record fourth Slam Dunk title foiled when he came up with only 89 points in the two-round elims, two less than Norwood whose two-handed follow-up off the backboard earned him 47 points in the second round.

Last year's local champion, Kelly Williams, did not compete due to a bum stomache, but the good-sized crowd had their treat even from TNT's Jared Dillinger, who first tried dunking while wearing boxing gloves and shorts ala Manny Pacquiao. Sadly, without getting a good grip on the ball because of the glove she was wearing, he missed all his three tries.

Another King, Paul Artadi, came up with a 36.7-second clocking in the Obstacle Challenge to beat co-finalists LA Tenorio of Alaska (37.4) and Egay Billones of Burger King (40.6) and bag the winner's purse of P20,000 in the event that was sponsored by Powerade.

It was Artadi’s first skills challenge title after five tries and ironically his one-attempt conversion in the three-point area in the Finals helped him win the title.

“Ang strategy ko eh mag-relax lang and enjoy because this is for the fans,” said Artadi.

Obstacle three-time winner and event defending champion Willie Miller of Alaska encountered troubles in the overhead pass and finished only fourth in the elimination round with 37.4 seconds.

Miller set the record in the event of 25.5 seconds last year in Bacolod City. (NCo)


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