ABU DHABI — At 33 years of age, Manila Chooks’ David Carlos proved that he can still fly.
Carlos returned to the FIBA 3×3 pro circuit after a two-year absence with a bang. He defeated Ukraine’s Vadim “Miller” Poddubchenko in the World Tour Abu Dhabi Masters’ Slam Dunk Competition final, Sunday morning (Manila time) at the Kasr Al Amwaj here.
This is only the third time a Filipino won a World Tour dunk competition. Carlos did the same back in the 2017 Chengdu Masters, while Rey Guevarra topped the 2015 Manila Masters.
And it was a dramatic and thrilling victory for the 5-foot-8 Filipino dunk king.
“I just wanted to put on a show and to prove to myself that I can still compete with the world’s best,” said an exhausted Carlos.
Already ahead of the 6-foot-6 Miller heading into the third and final dunk, 9.3 to 7.35, Carlos needed just to complete a dunk to win it all.
Carlos still went for broke, though. He tried to jump on four people but literally crashed and burned, hurting his back.
Instead of throwing down a simple one-hander and risking a zero if he missed, Carlos decided to just pull out the last standee for an over-three-people dunk. It was the necessary adjustment since he converted on his final attempt for a 7.7.
Miller’s no-look scorpion dunk drew a 9.7 and was not enough to overcome Carlos’ early lead.
“I did not want to disappoint ‘yung mga kapwa natin Pilipino na nanood dito,” said Carlos. “Kaya ako, kahit lamang na ‘ko, tinodo ko po rin ‘yung mga dunk ko kanina. Nasa isip ko kanina, bahala na kung ma-zero ako, basta alam ko na binigay ko ‘yung best ko.”
Carlos’ first dunk was an elevated windmill jam that drew a 9.3.
His second attempt was his trademark scorpion that also had a score of 9.3.
Besides the title, Carlos also took home $3,000 (P151,617.93).
This is Miller’s first loss in the current season after topping the Debrecen and Prague Masters.
Besides his two golds in the World Tour Masters, Carlos is also a two-time runner-up (2018 Penang and 2019 Doha) and a one-time bronze winner (2019 Jeddah).