MANILA, Philippines -- At 33 years of age, Manila Chooks TM's David Carlos proved that he can still fly.
After a two-year absence, Carlos returned to the FIBA 3x3 pro circuit with a bang as he defeated Ukraine's Vadim "Miller" Poddubchenko in the Slam Dunk competition of the World Tour Abu Dhabi Masters at the Kasr Al Amwaj.
This marks the third time that a Filipino has won a World Tour dunk competition. Carlos ruled the 2017 Chengdu Masters, and Rey Guevarra topped the 2015 Manila Masters.
It was a thrilling victory for the 5-foot-8 Carlos who has made a name for himself as the Philippines' slam dunk king.
"I just wanted to put on a show and to prove to myself that I can still compete with the world's best," said Carlos.
Already ahead of the 6-foot-6 Miller heading into the third and final dunk, 9.3 to 7.35, Carlos needed just to complete a dunk to win it all. He still went for broke and tried to jump over four people, but crashed and burned, and wound up hurting his back.
Instead of throwing down a simple one-hander and not risk getting a zero if he missed, Carlos decided to just pull out the last standee for an over-three-people dunk. It was the adjustment he needed as he converted on his final attempt for a 7.7.
Miller's no-look scorpion dunk drew a 9.7 and was not enough to overcome Carlos' early lead.
"I did not want to disappoint yung mga kapwa natin Pilipino na nanood dito," said Carlos. "Kaya ako, kahit lamang na ko, tinodo ko po rin yung mga dunk ko kanina. Nasa isip ko kanina, bahala na kung ma-zero ako basta alam ko na binigay ko yung best ko."
Carlos' first dunk was an elevated windmill jam that drew a 9.3. His second attempt was his trademark scorpion that also had a score of 9.3.
Besides the title, Carlos also took home $3,000 (P151,617.93).
This is Miller's first loss in the current season after topping the Debrecen and Prague Masters.
Besides his two golds in the World Tour Masters, Carlos is also a two-time runner-up (2018 Penang and 2019 Doha) and a one-time bronze winner (2019 Jeddah).
FROM THE ARCHIVES