MANILA, Philippines – One might expect Meralco high-flier Chris Newsome to be gunning for revenge in the 2017 PBA Slam Dunk Competition.
After all, Newsome fell short of the Slam Dunk crown as a rookie, when he came in second to then-Meralco teammate Rey Gueverra.
Newsome's athletic display – which included dunking while wearing gloves in a tribute to Manny Pacquiao – wasn't enough to deny Gueverra a third straight crown.
Newsome will get the chance to upend Gueverra's "four-peat" bid when the Slam Dunk Contest takes place on Friday night at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena, but the reigning Rookie of the Year insists he is simply looking to have a good time.
"I just want to give the fans a new show," said Newsome. "I feel that's why we're in this competition in the first place – to put on a show for the fans."
"And I know these guys here, they don't see us play here too often," he added. "I know they're all excited with the All-Star coming to Quezon."
Newsome anticipates that the other competitors – Guevarra, Alaska's Marion Magat, Ginebra's Jammer Jacinto, GlobalPort's James Forrester, and Phoenix's JC Intal – also want to give the crowd something to cheer for.
He is, however, especially interested in what Guevarra will do. "I think he is ready for No. 4," said Newsome.
"I spoke with James earlier, and we'll just do what we can to try to perform out there. It's not really like a competition," he added. "Like, 'Oh, we don't like Rey to win.' It's more like a friendly competition."
"I think we bring the best out of each other," Newsome further explained.
Newsome's hope is that all of them will come up with new and exciting tricks that will "force Rey to do something spectacular."
"It just keeps raising the bar, and that's what it is about," he said.
Aside from the Slam Dunk Contest, Friday night's festivities will also include the Three-Point Shootout, the Skills Challenge, and of course, the All-Star Game itself that will feature the Luzon All-Stars against the Gilas Pilipinas team.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)