PBA’s Slam Dunk Competition: Sense of humor over athleticism and creativity?

During last season’s Slam Dunk Competition, Frank Bonifacio called teammate Jayjay Helterbrand from the bench to assist him in his dunk attempt. Helterbrand had with him an action figure of himself in a basketball pose. Bonifacio positioned Helterbrand underneath the basket with his left arm raised up and the ball sitting on the palm of his hand. The action figure was placed on the floor just in front of Helterbrand.

Bonifacio then removed his jersey and wore it again, this time like a cape, ala-Superman. He then went into position behind the three-point line. He blasted off for the attempt then suddenly stopped and shook hands with Helterbrand who immediately went back to the bench.

All that was left on the floor was the action figure. Bonifacio missed a couple of attempts before completing the dunk just before the time expired. And so, he executed a simple two-handed dunk over a figurine about 8 inches tall.

It was déjà vu this year.

Jammer Jamito summoned teammate Japeth Aguilar from the crowd and led him to a spot just outside the no-charge zone. He told him to keep his head down before going into take-off position.

The crowd was buzzing with excitement in anticipation of Jamito’s jump-over-Japeth dunk attempt.

Jamito gathered steam and then at the last minute avoided Japeth by side-stepping and finishing with a simple one-handed dunk.

The crowd was stunned with the development. They were silent for a while but eventually applauded the effort with big smiles on their faces.

It’s a good thing that Jamito comes from the most popular team in the league. Brgy. Ginebra fans are not only passionate for their team inside the venue, but in social media as well. They came to Jamito’s defense, insisting that it was done in the spirit of entertainment.

But what if it wasn’t Jamito who made that fake jump-over-a-guy dunk? What if it was a nameless player from an expansion team, would they still sing the same tune? I highly doubt it.

The burning question is this – are the dunk attempts of Bonifacio and Jamito beneficial in the long run to the PBA’s Slam Dunk Competition? Yes, it may be entertaining but the contest calls for a show of creativity and athleticism, which wasn’t present in those two attempts. Yes, it came with a sense of humor, but that’s not included in the criteria for judging. Yes, it was entertaining, but it’s still awkward to see fans laughing during a Slam Dunk contest.

If entertainment and sense of humor is the main emphasis then the PBA should create a new side-event with that in mind. As it is, the Slam Dunk Competition should be reserved for those who can really generate ooohs and aaahs from the crowd, those who can really impress the audience and the judges, not make them laugh.

Well, the league is partly to blame as they should’ve screened the contestants before the contest proper. Either that or they should have invited only the league’s certified high-flyers to participate in the event.

Again, it helped a lot that the hilarious dunks came from players of the most popular team. If it were players from Mahindra and Blackwater then prepare yourself for an avalanche of tirades and criticisms.

This is only my opinion though, what’s your take on this issue? – Victor Adea


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