The UNTV Cup Season 7 kicked off its best of three semi-final series with explosive matches at the Pasig City Sports Center last Sunday (February 3).
The AFP Cavaliers collided with the NHA Builders in the first game, with the latter deploying a run-and-gun tactic at the start of the match to record a six-point early edge against AFP’s 14 points in the first quarter.
But Cavaliers’ Boyet Bautista turned the tables in the second quarter by firing nine points, and another six in the next quarter to outscore the NHA.
The Builders tried to snatch back the lead in the last quarter but the AFP fired all its cylinders to block the NHA until the final buzzer sounded.
The first game ended with the final score of 78-76 in favor of the AFP, thanks to Jerry Lumongsod’s moves, ably supported by Bautista and Ezer Rosopa.
The three were hailed as the Best Players of the Game after firing a combined 36 points.
Corporal Cornelio “Sonny” Manucat III said, “I salute my players, I also give credit to NHA. It’s a hard-fought game… yung NHA medyo maganda rin yung ginawa nila na adjustment pero unfortunately, buti bandang huli nakapag adjust kami ng maayos.”
(…NHA made a good adjustment but unfortunately [for them], we were also able to adjust properly later in the game.)
The PNP Responders are likewise off to a great start after routing season six champion Senate Defenders, 79-74.
Allan Omiping and Jerry Boy Saracho led the PNP to bagging its first semi-final victory by firing a total of 35 points.
The Responders narrowly defeated the Senate after the latter boosted its plays in the third and last quarters to snap PNP’s early edge.
But Saracho’s consecutive three-point shots and Anton Tolentino’s two free throws in the last part of the game helped the PNP to spur on to victory.
“Nagka-foul trouble. So medyo nag-collapse yung ibang teammates ko, pero still composure. Sabi ko game plan nangyayari nung prinaktis natin so luckily thankful di bumigay yung teammates ko,” Harold Sta. Cruz said.
(We had foul trouble. Some of my team mates collapsed but still the composure was there. I told them, our game plan was what we practiced. Luckily, we finished the game with our composure intact.)
“Yung will to win. We’re up by twelve tapos suddenly were down. So kapag ganoon dapat killer instinct ibaon pa namin dapat,” Coach Mike Fermin said.
(The will to win. We were leading by 12 points then suddenly we were down. In that moment, we need to have killer instinct. We should bury them more with a huge lead.) — Bernard Dadis
Witness three-time runner up Malacañang-PSC Kamao go against two-time champion Judiciary Magis on Sunday (September 22).
PhilHealth Plus will banner its five new players in the 8th season of the league of public servants, UNTV Cup.
According to Coach Delio Aseron, their team had played in various leagues during the off season as part of preparation.
“Ang paghahanda na ginawa natin we participated doon sa Government Corporations Athletic Association o GCAA kung saan nag champion po sa open ang PhilHealth for five years na and nanalo po kami sa seniors first time,” Coach Delio Aseron said.
(Part of our preparation was our participation at the GCAA or Government Corporation Athletic Association where PhilHealth was the champion for five years already in the open category and first-time champion in senior’s category.)
PhilHealth’s first game of the season will be against the defending champion, AFP Cavaliers in the second game of the triple-header on Sunday, 3PM at Pasig City Sports Center.
“Expect niyo po PhilHealth lalaban kahit maliit kami… hopefully we utilize our speed para exciting games,” Coach Aseron added.
(Expect PhilHealth to fight despite of our small line up… hopefully we’ll be able to utilize our speed to make the games exciting.)
Meanwhile, three-time runner up Malacañang-PSC Kamao will field two new players in their game against Judiciary Magis for the main game on Sunday, 5PM.
Kamao’s new players are Jeffrey Punzalan, 5’7 and Joseph Antolin Roque, 6’1.
According to MAL-PSC Coach Raffy Gonzales, they will not be complacent this season because they know that all the teams have upgraded their respective rosters. They promise to give all their best to repeat a finals appearance.
Coach Raffy Gonzales said, “Maganda naman pagkapasok nila dahil unang-una si Punzalan nag lalaro ng 1 and 2 [positions], yung Roque ganoon din 1,2,3 [positions] nilalaro.”
(Their addition is just fitting to our team, firstly, Jeffrey Punzalan plays position 1 and 2 and Joseph Roque plays 1,2 and 3.)
In the other court, expect a faster Judiciary Magis at UNTV Cup Season 8 according to head coach Joey Yabut following their acquisition of two new players.
“Expect niyo na takbuhan kami ngayon saka siguro gaganda na yung denepsa namin dahil may dalawa kaming player na bago. Mukhang defensive din hindi lang scorer eh,” Coach Yabut said.
(Expect us to be running this season and also expect us to be more defensive because of our new players.)
Joey Yabut also added that they will fight toe-to-toe despite facing other teams’ big men.
“Naging problema namin yung depensa, yung isa kasi namin bigman makatutulong sya ngayon sa ilalim…pwede rin siyang mabigyan sa ilalim dahil marunon siyang gumalaw. Yung isa naman defensive player. Yun naman yung mukhang kapalit ni John Hall,” Coach Joey Yabut said.
(Defense was our problem before but one of our big men can be a reliable force inside the paint. The other player is a defensive player who can possibly replace the vacuum left by our former player John Hall.)
Prior to these match ups is the opening game at 2pm between the Agriculture Food Masters and Ombudsman Graft Busters. — Bernard Dadis
These are just some of the beneficiaries of UNTV Cup.
Since the league started in July 2013 and up to its seventh season, UNTV Cup has already donated a total of P50,250,000 cash prize to the beneficiaries of all the competing teams.
For the players from all the government agencies, it was never about the glory. They are prepared to give their all for their chosen charity.
“Punto for punto talagang masarap sa pakiramdam as a player na naglalaro, (As a player, each point feels fulfilling)”—Reneboy Banzali from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Furies
“Naglalaro ka na nakakatulong pa tayo sa mga beneficiary natin. So enjoy lang kami, makatulong, (We are helping our beneficiaries by playing. So we are just enjoying)“—Malacañang Head Coach Raffy Ginzalez
“Nagpapasalamat nga kami sa kanila lalo na kay Brother Eli. Sa pamamagitan niya ang daming natutulungan, pati na iyong team namin. So nagiging instrument kami makatulong din sa ibang tao, (We are thankful to Brother Eli. Through him, we are helping a lot even our team. So we also become instruments to help others)“—National Housing Authority (NHA) Builders Head Coach Benett Palad
“Kami po, kasama lahat ng players and of course kasama ang management ng PhilHealth ay patuloy na sumusuporta sa magandang adhikain ni Brother Eli and ni Kuya Daniel na hindi lang ma-showcase iyong mga talento ng ating mga public servants kundi makatulong din sa ating mga beneficiaries, (On behalf of all the players and, of course, the PhilHealth management, we will continue to support the good advocacy of Brother Eli and Kuya Daniel of not just showing the talents of our public servants but also to help our beneficiaries)“—Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) Plus Head Coach Delio Aseron II
UNTV Cup is also helping former professional basketball players through the PBA Legends Foundation.
For the 8th season of UNTV Cup, over P10 million is allotted for the beneficiaries of the 12 competing teams.—AAC (with reports from Bernard Dadis)
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Cavaliers have proven their right to be the defending champions after defeating Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) Global Traders at the UNTV Cup Season 8 opener on Monday (September 9).
Fans have witnessed the strength of the three-time defending champs at the Mall of Asia Arena (MOA) after a consistent double digit lead against the PITC Global Traders.
However, the PITC Global Traders were able to retaliate during the 3rd quarter. With their tough defense, they were able to slightly bridge the gap by 15 points.
Unfortunately, the AFP was able to block PITC’s momentum and finished the game by 90-70.
PITC Global Traders Head Coach Victor Ycasiano said they will recover from the loss and will train harder.
“In time makaka-recover iyan. Alam mo naman noong nakapukpok sila nakahabol. So even if they are the defending champion alam namin kaya namin, we have to be given some time to recover from everything makapag-ensayo kami nang maayos, (They will recover in time. They were able to bounce back [mid-game]. So even if they are the defending champion, we know we can do it, we have to be given some time to recover from everything and train better)” he said.
Regular weekly games start on Sunday, September 15 at Pasig City Sports Center with live telecast, Facebook live and webcast on UNTV channels.
Next week, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will battle Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) at 2:00 p.m. followed by the clash between the Office of the Ombudsman and Social Security System (SSS) at 3:30 p.m.
In the final game of the triple-header, the National Housing Authority (NHA) will face the Philippine National Police (PNP) at 5:00 p.m.—AAC (with reports from Bernard Dadis and Raymond Lacsa)
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