It was a sad day for basketball fans when Jamie Malonzo, the high-flying forward of Barangay Ginebra, announced his withdrawal from the PBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest due to a nagging shoulder injury.
Malonzo had been juggling his PBA and Gilas Pilipinas duties, and his body just couldn’t keep up. Nonetheless, he apologized to the fans for the decision, knowing he was the consensus favorite to win the dunk contest.
“I’m sad about it, too,” he said shortly after the Kings’ 109-104 win over Terrafirma in the Governors’ Cup, Wednesday at the Ynares Center. “But I just got little nagging injuries — I got a little shoulder [injury] that’s bothering me. If it wasn’t for my body, I’d do it for the fans.”
The PBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest was set to feature Malonzo, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser of NLEX, Blackwater’s Tyrus Hill, David Murrell of Converge, and Chris Lalata of Phoenix. However, with Malonzo out, the field has been reduced to a four-man dunk fest.
Malonzo’s absence was a big loss for the event as he was expected to wow the crowd with his high-flying dunks. But despite his withdrawal, the forward promised to put on a show for the fans at the featured All-Star game.
“I’ll be in the All-Star Game, and I’ll still put on a show for that,” the sophomore out of De La Salle said. “I’m sorry for the fans, but I will be there for the All-Star Game. I will show the dunks I got. I’ll give you what I got.”
Malonzo’s injury is a reminder that even the most talented athletes need to take care of their bodies. As he said, “All these games, I had been playing a lot of stuff, so I just decided to take this one easy.” The fans may have missed out on his dunks this time, but Malonzo will surely come back stronger and ready to fly even higher.