|Ray rises. Photo by Carl Sta. Ana|
The first one I ever saw to dunk the ball in the UAAP was Jayvee Gayoso in a game against NU when we were in high school. Dunking the ball was such a rarity that when he slammed it everyone on the Ateneo bench rushed to the floor to celebrate never mind if the game was ongoing. Technical foul, coach Rafael Dimalanta. I don't think I saw someone more happy to get T'd up. Then came Benjie Paras and wow. I wondered if the basket support was strong enough to withstand his slams. Then there was San Sebastian College's Paul Alvarez and he did some pretty amazing things with that ball. Then I saw Danny Francisco throw some down first while he was a Blue Eaglet then when he was a Blue Eagle. When Bong Ravena made his debut with the UE Warriors, all I could think was, "Look out below."
But if there was any one time that was a dunkfest that was in the early 1990s in the UAAP when La Salle's Jun Limpot would engage Adamson's Marlou Aquino in a slamfest! In one game at Blue Eagle Gym, Limpot posted up Aquino. He spun around and threw down one as the Adamson center tried to block it front behind. The next trip down the floor, Aquino got the ball at the fifteen foot line, drove and elevated for a monstrous throwdown! They'd dunk on one another that it was truly amazing. Like there was no one else but themselves going at one another. Now throw in Adamson's Kenneth Duremdes, FEU's Henry Padaong, and La Salle's John Edel Cardel. There was one game where Cardel pulled down an offensive board, went down to secure the ball, then jumped right through a forest of arms to slam it in. Wow. Three-point play against FEU! It seemed that with the 1990s, players were trying to throw down whenever they could.
Some dunks you don't forget. There was Japeth Aguilar in the Home and Away League where Ateneo was playing San Sebastian at EAC. Jap blocked a Stags' jumper, corralled the loose ball and high-tailed it downcourt with two opponents giving chase. Just past the free throw line, Jap elevated with two Stags going up to try and meet him in the air. Wham! In your face! Every one of the 50 people inside the EAC gym jumped up in celebration (including the San Sebastian team)! That was a NBA-type of dunk, right there. I remember Jap saying that he would have traded that highlight reel slam for a win because Baste took the match by six points. Another dunk that a lot of people did not see was when Ateneo played UST in the Fr. Martin's Cup and Jobe Nkemakolam, two feet from the free throw line took off. The Tigers' Alwyn Espiritu met him in mid-air but Nkemakolam was not denied. There was Danny Ildefonso on anybody foolish enough to face him and get embarrassed with his trademark "raise the roofs". There was Rico Villanueva on Cyrus Baguio, Paolo Bugia on Ronald Tubid, Ferdinand on Nico Salva, Khasim Mirza on Nico Salva (what the!), and JC Intal on Veejay Serios. Calvin Abueva with a death-defying dunk on San Beda's frontcourt players. Ronald Pascual also has some incredible slams too! UE's Elmer Espiritu was always fun to watch. What hops he has. I wish we could catalogue these dunks!
And there are these two special ones where NU's Ray Parks throws down a vicious tomahawk on La Salle's Arnold van Opstal (sorry, bud) and Kiefer Ravena posterizes UST's Karim Abdul. I'd say that these two dunks will give us something to talk about other than this season's horrid officiating.
|Sumakay ka pa. Photo by Raddy Mabasa.|
And there was this flush by Enrico Villanueva on Cyrus Baguio in a game during 2002. Cyrus tried to swipe the ball when Rico drove in but he missed. The result... a photo in the Ateneo souvenir book of 2002. The violence of the dunk was over in a flash. Photo by Aaron Vicencio.