A participant doing a slam dunk. Photos: ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG/The Star
JOHOR BARU: The dark skies and light rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of 525 youths from trying to outperform one another at the inaugural Spalding 3x3 Basketball Challenge held at Sutera Mall here.
The boys, aged between 12 and 18 years, gathered from all corners of Johor at the parking lot that was converted into five basketball courts.
Liew Yi from SMK Mutiara Rini’s wants to follow in the footsteps of basketball legend Michael Jordan, This spurred him to take part in the challenge.
Liew, 16, made it into the final round of the StarMetro Slam Dunk Competition where he wowed the crowd and judges to score a perfect 30 points to win the event.
“I want to be just like my hero Michael Jordan who was known for his showmanship and skills on the court.
“Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time especially and when he did a slam dunk, it looked like he was flying,” said Liew, adding that he did not think he would do well as other boys were much bigger and taller than him.
The key to his win was constant practice as he plays with his friends whenever he is free.
“Many of the contestants had supporters who cheered them on loudly when they managed to perform a slam dunk, and this made me even more anxious.
“But it did not stop me from doing my best. Before every slam dunk, I would compose myself by thinking of Jordan,” he said.
Liew said he watched a lot of videos of the six-time NBA champion on YouTube to get his moves and execution right.
He dreams of representing Malaysia in basketball and playing professionally in the NBA.
Besides Liew, the other winner of the competition was Kent Low, 17.
Both teenagers also took home a Milo hamper and a Spalding basketball.
In the Best Shooter Competition, the top three winners were Leong Ye Xuan, 17, Khor Zi Heng, 12 and Lim Jun Xi, 12, who each won a Milo hamper and a Spalding basketball.
In the Under-12 competition, Shan Dian Xia was the winner followed by Ruan Jiao Bao Ya Qiu Bu Jin Dui, Hei Bao and Pui Mian San Tiow Ger.
In the Under-14 competition, Skudai A emerged as champions, while Hoe Guan 123 took second spot while Yuan Jin You Zong and A.F.V took third and fourth place respectively.
In the Under-16 category, Amour took top spot while second place went to Skudai B, and Wang Zhe Buke Zhu Dong and Legends were placed third and fourth respectively.
In the Under-18 category, PSB Academy Team A emerged champions, beating PSB Academy Team B in the finals while the Buzzer Beater beat Jaguar to finish third place.
Sutera Mall hosted the third leg of the tournament after earlier ones at Penang Times Square and IOI Mall in Puchong, Selangor The final leg will be held at Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 20.
The tournament is sanctioned by the Malaysia Basketball Association while the prizes are sponsored by Hoops Station.
StarMetro is the official media partner while Milo is the official beverage sponsor and Spalding the official ball partner.
For details, visit www.spaldingmy.blogspot.com or call the hotline at 03-8961 8299.