A lowly first round could not keep Mark Mallari down.
The rookie floor general was crowned as the top speedster in the NCAA, outlasting the rest of the field to bag the NCAA Season 94 All-Star Skills Challenge crown, Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
“Sabi nga po nila coach Vergel [Meneses], sir Paul [Supan], at ng mga teammate ko, kelangan ko i-champion ito para sa team,” shared the native of Angeles City, Pampanga.
This is the first time in two years that the skills challenge crown will not go to Mapua University. Darell Menina and JP Nieles were the champions for the past two years.
In the Finals, Mallari – who just turned 19 years old a week ago – outlasted Perpetual’s Jasper Cuevas in the heads-up finals. Cuevas struggled in the chest pass drill.
Prior to that, he blasted San Beda’s Clint Doliguez for the win.
“Araw-araw, bago magsimula yung All-Star, sinabi nila sa akin na ako lalaban at mag-practice ng maigi para dito. Tinulungan ako nila kuya Jed [Mendoza], Kuya [Aaron] Bordon, at Kuya MJ [Dela Virgen],” added the BS Management student.
During the elimination round, Mallari clocked in at 24.3 – good for second. Cuevas was the fastest with 22.2 seconds, followed by Doliguez (25.8) and Mapua’s Eric Jabel (26.5).
Mapua was dethroned after Cuevas knocked off Jabel in the semis.
Also competing were CSB’s Jimboy Pasturan (27.6), San Sebastian’s Arjan Dela Cruz (27.8), LPU’s Nino Ibanez (29.5), Letran’s Bonbon Batiller (30.4), Arellano’s Maui Sera Josef (44.6), and CJ Cadua (50.4).
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