FILIPINO high-flyer Rhenz Abando took the Korean Basketball League (KBL) All-Star Weekend by storm, soaring his way to the championship of the Slam Dunk Contest yesterday at the KT Sonicboom Arena in Suwon.
The Anyang KGC import made heads turn in going perfect in two rounds with 100 points to best the homegrown stars of the KBL only in his first season.
Mr. Abando displayed a clean two-handed 360 and an electrifying baseline alley-oop dunk off a pass from compatriot RJ Abarrientos before capping the first round with a top-board reverse slam for 50 points.
There was no stopping the former NCAA Rookie-MVP from there on as he scored another 50 points in the second phase with a two-handed reverse windmill dunk and a one-handed windmill version.
The former Letran standout bagged two million Korean won or more than P88,000 as the best dunker in the KBL’s midseason spectacle.
Mr. Abando, 24, bested a bevy of local stars led by home bet Ha Yun-gi (90 points) of Suwon KT SonicBoom, Choi Jin-soo (89) of Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus and Park Jin-cheol (87) of and Goyang Carrot Jumpers.
Mr. Abarrientos, the Pinoy reinforcement of Ulsan, meanwhile fell short in the Three-Point Shootout with only 13 points to bow out of contention in the preliminaries.
Heo Ung of the Jeonju KCC Egis won the shootout with 19 points over Ulsan’s Kim Gook-chan with 13 in final round.
Mr. Abarrientos also settled for only three points as Team Heo Ung bowed to Team Lee Dae-sung, 122-117, in the All-Star Game proper.
The former FEU stalwart was the lone Filipino import that made it into the All-Star Game after placing 24th in the voting process. — John Bryan Ulanday