LUCENA CITY—Meralco guard Chris Newsome achieved on Friday night what he failed to do last year.
The highly-athletic Fil-Am guard came up with a pair of solid dunks in the final round to defeat GlobalPort rival James Forrester by the slimmest of margin and crown himself the new Slam Dunk king in this year’s PBA All-Star Week at the Quezon Convention Center here.
The 6-foot-2 Newsome found himself trailing behind Forrester at the end of their first dunk attempts in the final round as his off-the-bounce, left-handed windmill dunk could only garner 43 points, seven off the Batang Pier’s bet who earned a perfect 50 for his two-handed reverse dunk over his standing teammate Stanley Pringle.
Forrester, however, could not earn a fitting encore to his dunk as he failed to convert on his attempts in the second—and decisive round, earning just 36 points while keeping the door ajar for Newsome.
And the Meralco guard took advantage as he converted a two-handed dunk after juggling three balls and bouncing one of them off the board, good for 44 markers to finish with 87 overall—just one point ahead of the GlobalPort forward.
The victory completed the redemption of Newsome, who came up short against erstwhile three-time champion Rey Guevarra of Mahindra last year’s edition at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“The good thing about it is I finally got this championship under my belt and this is something that I will remember for the rest of my life,” admitted the former Ateneo standout. “That shows that my athleticism does not go unnoticed and I’m blessed to be given this chance to showcase these talents. It’s for all these fans.”
For sure, Newsome made “strategic” approach in terms of the difficulty of his dunk attempts.
“I tried to be strategic this year. You really have to do something not that difficult to complete the competition,” he said. “So yeah, I started out with two simple dunks that got me to the second round. From that point, I just tried to come out with something the people have not seen that sealed the win.”
As per his final matchup with Forrester, Newsome said: “No no no. We were just talking and do your best. We want to bring out the best of each other.”
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