These seven players would form the core of a championship team.
“The First Slam Dunk,” the movie adaptation of the popular anime "Slam Dunk," just hit local theaters recently, and it naturally got us thinking: Which active PBA players resemble the characters of the beloved anime in terms of their game? It took some scouting—wink, wink—and a lot of rewatching, but we finally finished our list. And we think it would make a slam dunk of a team.
Takenori Akagi x June Mar Fajardo
The six-time PBA MVP is a talented man-mountain who creates the most damage in the paint. San Miguel's "The Kraken" is not so different from Shohoku’s lovable "Gori." Both are also the unquestioned leaders of their respective teams but are relatively low-key and rarely ever rattled.
Hanamichi Sakuragi x Cliff Hodge
Hodge may not be the pure athlete Sakuragi is, but he is pure heart and all hustle on the court just like Shohoku’s energizer. Both are limited offensively as well yet are still able to score from time to time, mostly on sheer will and hard work.
Hisashi Mitsui x RR Pogoy
Pogoy is the PBA’s resident marksman from deep the way Mitsui is Shohoku’s hotshot shooter. But Mitsui is more than just a long-range sniper, as he can also take it to the basket and defend opposing scorers—two things Pogoy also do pretty well.
Kaede Rukawa x Cjay Perez
Both Rukawa and Perez are dynamic scorers who can light it up from anywhere. But neither is much of a talker, preferring to let his game do the talking instead.
Ryota Miyagi x Chris Ross
Ross and Miyagi are the type of steady, smart, and savvy pass-first point guard any team would love to have. It also helps that they are exceptional on defense, often playing bigger than their small, lithe frames.
Kicchou Fukuda x Jamie Malonzo
Fukuda is as athletic as they come, and he is at his best attacking the basket. The same can be said of Malonzo, who is starting to evolve into a more multifaceted threat on both ends—just like Fukuda did for Ryonan.
Nobunaga Kiyota x Scottie Thompson
Thompson isn’t brash and loudmouthed like Kiyota. But he is just as good, most likely better, than the Ryonan ace forward. Iskati has the same motor, leaping ability, and all-around game as the youngling of Kainan.