PBA ALL-STAR WEEKEND5 min read
Murrell is crowned slam dunk king;
Marcelo tops obstacle challenge
Converge forward David Murrell clinched the 2023 PBA All-Star Weekend’s Dunk Competition title in a thrilling finale against Blackwater’s Tyrus Hill at the City of Passy Arena.
The high flyers jointly topped the pre-finals, setting up an exciting showdown for the crown and the P30,000 prize.
Hill set the bar high with a perfect score for his second-round dunk, cleanly jumping over Ginebra star Jamie Malonzo and throwing down a one-hander.
Murrell faced mounting pressure but responded with a 360-degree windmill in his final dunk, earning 46 points from the five judges, including PBA legends Allan Caidic and Noli Locsin, Mayor Stephen Palmares, PBA Press Corps president Gerry Ramos, and veteran sportscaster Andy Jao.
Murrell’s earlier 360-degree two-hander in the first round garnered 46 points, edging out Hill’s attempt at a Vince Carter elbow dunk, which received a low score of 41. With identical scores of 92 after two rounds, Murrell edged out Hill by a point to claim the title.
Reflecting on the competition, Murrell admitted he thought Hill had already won the title before his final dunk. “I actually thought he already won it,” he said. “I was already congratulating him before my (second) dunk. I thought he had it.”
The dunk contest also featured NLEX’s Brandon Ganuelas Rosser and Phoenix’s Chris Lalata, who scored 89 and 81, respectively.
They were eliminated after the second round
Meanwhile, in a thrilling display of athleticism, TnT’s Dave Marcelo emerged as the winner of the PBA All-Stars Obstacle Challenge. Marcelo’s strategy was simple – to complete the course without any mistakes – and it paid off as he finished in 25.38 seconds, beating out big names like Ginebra’s Christian Standhardinger and two-time winner Beau Belga of Rain or Shine.
Marcelo, who earned P30,000 for his victory, expressed his surprise at winning, saying “Sobrang amazing. I didn’t expect kasi first time ko dito and hindi ko alam mangyayari (It’s so amazing. I didn’t expect it because it was my first time here and I didn’t know what would happen). I just tried my best.” He had to survive two rounds of action before making it to the three-man finale.
He added, “Ang hirap talunin ni Kuya Beau. Sobrang experienced (Kuya Beau is hard to beat. He’s very experienced).
In the 1v1 opening matchups, Marcelo defeated JM Calma, dribbling around three obstacles and sinking the ball in the chest pass apparatus before shooting from the stripe.
He then capitalized on San Miguel Beermen Jeepy Faundo’s initial attempt at the final jumper to secure his spot in the finals.
Belga, who was looking for his third consecutive win, won his previous titles in 2017 and 2019 before the pandemic.
He defeated Terrafirma’s Joseph Gabayni and Raymond Almazan to make it to the finals.
Standhardinger, on the other hand, beat Blackwater’s Ato Ular and NLEX’s Brandon Ganuelas Rosser to earn his spot in the championship round.