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Tiebreaker Times

Basketball

Justin Gutang takes over dunk throne


For the second time in three years, College of Saint Benilde is the dunk capital of the NCAA.

Filipino-American rookie Justin Gutang, who was last year’s runner-up, played it safe late in the final round of the NCAA Season 94 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest to win the plum, Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

“He just told me I better win. He said that he’ll return next year,” Gutang shared about what Yankie Haruna had told him prior to the contest. Haruna won it all back in the 92nd Season of the grand old league.

With finalists Enoch Valdez of Lyceum and William de Leon of Arellano flopping in all of their attempts in the finale, Gutang threw down a reverse two-hander to open his stay. However, he was not satisfied with it.

“In the end, I wasn’t really satisfied. I wanted to put on a show. But a win is a win, and I was able to take one for Benilde,” added Gutang.

Gutang threw down a powerful left-handed jam to end the competition for a 41.

Gutang was the top dunk artist in the first round, scoring a 46. During that attempt, Jimboy Pasturan threw the ball on the side of the rim before Gutang picked it up mid-air for the jam.

“I just saw this guy dunking with two balls, I just had to start strong,” recalled Gutang.

He was referring to De Leon’s dunk that drew a 44. Valdez’s reverse jam rounded up the top three with a score of 40.

Letran’s Jeric Villanueva, EAC’s Juju Bautista, Mapua’s Jesper Bautista, San Beda’s Eugene Toba, San Sebastian’s Kenneth Villapando, and Perpetual’s Lean Martel completed the cast.

#ReadMore  NCAA 97: St. Benilde weathers Calma's surge, stops two-game slide

Judges for the competition were Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag, NCAA Press Corps president Norman Riego, current Mandaluyong El Tigre player Axel Torres, and celebrities Elisse Joson and Jameson Blake.

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