Flores jumps over Empoy, two others to win Slam Dunk Contest
NO LAUGHING MATTER. Funnyman Empoy was the all-important prop to Lervin Flores' even-winning dunk.
Lervin Flores fell short in winning the Slam Dunk Contest he so desperately wanted a year ago.
Now in the NCAA 93 All-Star Game, the Arellano University big man got just what he was looking for.
Leaping over actor Empoy Marquez, host Andrei Felix, and fellow competitor Renato Ular, Flores left no doubt in crowning himself as the king of slam dunk on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
A year ago, the Chiefs’ center hyped himself up for the event only to be overshadowed by eventual champion Yankie Haruna. “Pinaghandaan ko talaga ‘to,” he told reporters afterward.
This time around, Flores was pulling out all the stops and said he was supposed to jump over someone taller than him. “Dapat, si [Eugene] Toba o [Eli] Ongolo-Ongolo e,” he shared, referring to two foreign student-athletes.
When the crowd chanted Empoy’s name, however, the musclebound big man had no choice but to give in. “Nilakasan ko na lang yung loob ko. Wala na si Yankie e, kinuha ko na lang yung opportunity para mag-champion,” he expressed.
Rise up to the challenge, Flores did, and soared over three people to rattle the rim.
The highlight dunk got a perfect 50 from the judging panel composed of Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag and main man Ray Parks Jr., NCAA Press Corps president Cedelf Tupas, actress Ria Atayde, and Empoy himself.
That was more than enough to beat out runner-up Justin Gutang of College of St. Benilde who scored 45 for his 360 dunk right below the ring.
Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s Ular, another finalist, was not able to convert any of his attempts.
Other contestants in the Slam Dunk Contest were Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Rustan Bugarin, Jose Rizal University’s Jefferson Sarmiento, Lyceum of the Philippines University’s Yancy Remulla, Eugene Toba of San Beda College, Allyn Bulanadi of San Sebastian College Recoletos, and Kervin Lucente of University of Perpetual Help.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.