Jalen Green will be facing stiff competition as he looks to retain his title as the king of aerial acrobatics in the Slam Dunk Contest of the 2019 NBTC Chooks-to-Go All-Star Game presented by SM, on Saturday noon at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
USA’s top-ranked high school player will be up against the Philippines’ best, with professional dunker David Carlos and internet sensation Darwin Cantong battling him for the crown.
But Green is up to the challenge as he anticipates a great showdown, particularly with Carlos who wasn’t a hundred percent when they last met
“Last year, I felt like it was given to me. The professional dunker (David Carlos) was hurt so he did not really like put on a show,” said Green as he gears up for another go-round in the side event to the national championship for high school backed by Chooks-to-Go, Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, SM, Molten, and presented by 5Plus and Lighthouse Events.
“I hope this year, it’s more of a (show). I feel like it’s going to be fun and I’m ready to go,” he added.
There will be three dunk attempts per round for each competitor, with the top two advancing to the final round.
NBA champion Metta World Peace will be part of the five-man panel of judges which also includes Kobe Paras, Dylan Ababou, Joshua Munzon, and Karl Dehesa.
The Slam Dunk Contest, though, is just one of the highlights for the All-Star festivities.
Towering teens Kai Sotto and Carl Tamayo will also banner a talented pool in the Skills Challenge which will pit big men against cat-quick guards.
The 7-foot-2 Sotto will be battling 6-foot-9 Ladis Lepalam of La Salle Green Hills while Tamayo, the 6-foot-8 reigning UAAP 81 Finals MVP from National U, takes on Ateneo’s Gio Chiu, also 6-foot-8, in the other giant pairing.
Highly-touted FEU guard RJ Abarrientos will be pitted against Robert Norambaba of Eastern Samar’s Dolores National HS while it’s a battle of Fil-foreign guards as Jasper Rentoy of AusPinoy battles Reimar Cruz of Top Flight Hoops Vancouver.
The winners of each bracket will face in the finals.
Completing the annual showcase is the Three-Point Shootout which will feature the eight best snipers in the tournament.
St. Louis School of Don Bosco-Dumaguete’s John Erolon will be the early favorite after putting up an average of five three-pointers through three games.
Battling Erolon is Jerric Palma of Top Flight, Jason Diaz of Durham Crossover Toronto, Jarred Lao of LSGH, Jordan Perez of Camp David New Zealand, Luigi Cuevas of Proudly Pinoy Italy, Ajay Lameseria of Calayan Education Foundation Inc. Lucena, and Angelo Cacho of University of Baguio.
That exhibition, alongside the tournament Finals, will be aired live on ESPN5 and streamed live over at tv5.espn.com.
The centerpiece weekend of the week-long tourney is still free of admission, with fans needing just a valid ID to enter SM Mall of Asia Arena.