It’s that time of the year again, after months of weekly games, the road eventually leads to the historic Araneta Coliseum.
UNTV Cup, the League of Public Servants, is staging the climax of the tournament: the championship defense of Season 6 title holder Senate Defenders against the two-time champs AFP Cavaliers.
But, before heading to the Big Dome, a knock out battle for third place between season 5 champions PNP Responders and NHA Builders will happen on March 3, 2019 at the Pasig City Sports Center together with the Game 1 of the Best of Three finals.
There has not been a two-consecutive season champion in the span of seven seasons of the UNTV Cup.
If the policemen win on Sunday, they will be able to donate P1-M cash donation to their chosen charity: The Public Assistance for Rescue, Disaster and Support Services (PARDSS) Foundation International, Inc.
But if the Builders defeat the men in uniform, the NHA Provident Fund Association, Inc. gets a million cash donation.
Otherwise, the 4th placer’s chosen charity gets P500,000.
The Champion or the first placer gets P4,000,000 while the 2nd placer gets P2,000,000 for their chosen charity / beneficiary.
An explosive game 1 is expected between the AFP Cavaliers and Senate Defenders on Sunday as the winner will already get a game advantage prior on setting their feet the larger arena on March 11 and March 18 if necessary.
Other teams which did not make to the Final 4 will receive P100,000 for their beneficiary.
Founded by BMPI President – CEO and public service advocate Kuya Daniel Razon, the UNTV Cup, aims to foster camaraderie among the various government agencies under the spirit of charity and public service as the participating teams get to choose charity institutions or endeavors to where their cash prize will go.
Through the years, UNTV Cup’s relevance transcended to different stratus of the Philippine basketball community when former professional and collegiate basketball players got a chance to play again the game they love on a televised broadcast and webcast as well as being able to live their dream to play in the prestigious basketball venue like the Smart-Araneta Coliseum and Mall of Asia Arena.
UNTV Cup, in a way, also paved the way for the creation of the charity foundation of former professional basketball players known as the PBA Legends Foundation which aims to help former professional basketball players who are in need.
The league is supervised by Commissioner Fortunato “Atoy” Co and Deputy Commissioner Ed Cordero since season 1 and games are regularly analyzed by veteran sports analyst Sev Sarmenta and basketball legend Ronnie Magsanoc.
UNTV Cup’s main sponsor is Bro. Eli Soriano of the Ang Dating Daan and Members, Church of God International.
It seemed like NHA head coach and former Ginebra player, Benett Palad, injected the “never-say-die” Ginebra spirit into his team NHA Builders when they dominated the two-time champion Judiciary Magis in an exciting double overtime win, 108-101, on Sunday for the continuation of the first round elimination of the UNTV Cup — the league of public servants.
Though the Judiciary Magis dominated the NHA Builders in all 3 quarters, the Builders patiently tore down the lead in the final period to force the first overtime, 80-80.
In the first overtime, it was a showdown of marksmanship in the 3-point perimeter between Alvin Vitug and Frederick Salamat. Judiciary Magis had the chance to win the game if Erik Dionisio had not miss 1 of 2 crucial free throws with last 5 seconds left. The score entering the second overtime was 95-95.
But in the second overtime, the Judiciary Magis were plagued with foul troubles. Magis gunners Chester Tolomia, Warren Ybañez and Frederick Salamat graduated while there was still a few more minutes to play, allowing NHA to eventually prevail.
Also crucial to NHA’s victory was their rebounding, having 64 rebounds compared to Judiciary’s 38 rebounds and NHA’s free throws: 26 made out of 44 attempts (59.1%) compared to Judiciary’s 17 made out of 38 attempts (44.7%).
With a combined 42 points the Tibay twins — Waldemar and Ralph— were chosen as best players of the game for carrying out Coach Benett Palad’s specially designed plays defensively and offensively all throughout the game.
“Kasi malalaki sila kailangan ko sa loob ng speed, so kailangan ko may humustle (hustle) kay Warren. Kasi kung hindi, mayayari kami sa ilalim, wala akong malaki eh,” Coach Bennett Palad said.
Ralph Tibay said, “Kailangan kong depensahan si Warren, kailangan mahirapan si Warren yun lang naman ang game plan: pahirapan ang beterano. Kung walang magtitimon sa kanila patay yung ano ng Judiciary.”
Meanwhile, Waldemar Tibay had this to say about Frederick Salamat: “Shooter talaga eh kahit anong gamin namin, nag-double kami sa side. Ang problem lang namin, sumasakto yung tira niya doon, pero good defense pa rin kami.”
Other outstanding performances came from Alvin Vitug and Marlon Mercado with 23 points each and Antonio Lustestica Jr who contributed 10 points.
For the basketball team of Supreme Court, Frederick Salamat amassed 25 points with 21 points coming from the 3-point area. While Chester Tolomia had 23 points and Warren Ybañez had double-double figures, 19 points and 10 rebounds.
“Ang naging problema namin noong fourth quarter lamang kami ng eleven points medyo ipiniress namin yung ball, kaya nawala yung momentum namin sa tingin ko yun yung factor kaya nahabol kami, eh,” Judiciary Magis Coach Joey Yabut said.
With this win, the Builders are now in the 3rd place of Group B ranking with 2-1-win loss record while the Judiciary Magis falls into the 4th place with 1 win and 2 losses.
In the other games, PhilHealth Plus has now broken into the win column of Group A ranking after an excruciating overtime win over the Ombudsman Graft Busters, 118-110.
Even though PhilHealth’s Mark Pedroso has not yet fully recovered from his knee injury, he still played to help his team.
Mark Pedroso collected 19 points and 9 assists while Jonathan Aldave collected 38 points and 7 rebounds, together, they were hailed as best players of the game.
Meanwhile, Malacañang-PSC Kamao remains unbeaten after defeating the GSIS Furies, 102-69.
Philippine Marines’ Joseph Besa was hailed as best player of the game with 19 points and 3 rebounds. — Bernard Dadis
Game 1: Malacañang-PSC def. GSIS, 102-69
Malacañang-PSC 102 – Besa 19, Ignario 17, Garrido 14, N. Javier 11, Punzalan 11, V. Javier 9, M. Antonio 9, R. Abalos 2
The winless teams, PhilHealth Plus and GSIS Furies must defeat their opponents this coming Sunday as they are on the verge of early elimination being on the bottom two in their respective groups.
In the first game of the triple-header, GSIS Furies would have to breach the tough defense of Malacanang-PSC Kamao head-on.
It’s going to be a big task for the Rene Banzali and Roger Yap-led team to even demoralize their opponent because Coach Raffy Gonzales’ Kamao team has the perfect winning momentum; on the other hand they will come from two-straight sorry loses.
The battle between the President’s men and the government-worker insurers is slated at 2 pm at Pasig City Sports Center.
In the other game, PhilHealth Plus must triumph against the Ombudsman Graft Busters led by its big man tandem of Bernzon Franco and Samuel Ignacio and the reinforcement playing coach of Edsel del Rosario.
The Health Insurers and “Tanod Bayan” face off is scheduled at 3:30 in the afternoon.
And in the main card of UNTV Cup Sunday games, Judiciary Magis and NHA Builders are eager to get the win that will decide their ranking in Group B with both having a 1-1 record.
Judiciary comes from a victorious game against GSIS last September 29.
Coach Joey Yabut said, “Sabi ko sa mga players, kailangan nating manalo kasi kapag nadalawang sunod tayo, mahirap na tayo bumawi kasi tatlong malalakas pa yung kalaban natin.”
NHA Builders Coach Benett Palad says, “Kailangan naming manalo doon para pumasok kami sa taas … yung team ko kasi ngayon nagkakaroon na ng camaraderie at teamwork so mas gumaganda yung takbuhan. Konting konti na lang ang i-aadjust ko na mali nila.” — Bernard Dadis
Aside from NHA, the Magis is slated to face DENR and PNP.
While the NHA Builders are determined to bounce back from a disheartening loss from Malacanang-PSC Kamao two-weeks ago.
UNTV Cup Season 7 defending champion AFP Cavaliers’ record remains unblemished this season as they overpowered SSS Kabalikat, 100-86.
This is the third straight win for Cavaliers while it’s the second loss for Team Social Security System.
Veterans Alvin Zuniga and Winston Sergio led the AFP with 18 points and 17 points respectively.
Airman Wilfred Casulla Jr. added 10 points and 11 rebounds while Ezer Rosopa produced 9 points and 12 rebounds.
SSS main man, Carlito Quiambao contributed 41 points and 17 rebounds but they were not enough to get near AFP in the end game even with the addition of 28 combined points from Francisco Sarmiento and John Paul Roman.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture basketball team, DENR Warriors, now ties Malacañang-PSC Kamao in ranking in Group B as the DENR registered its second win against PNP, 88-77.
In the first half, PNP was still ahead with 6 points, 38-44, but in the third quarter, DENR started to rally led by Ralph Lansang when they brought 31 points into the table and limited the PNP to only 10 points.
The police force tried to regroup in the last quarter led by 2-time MVP Ollan Omiping but it was not enough to stop the onslaught of rookie team DENR Warriors.
Both Melvin Bangal and Ralph Lansang put up 21 points each with 34 points support from Paul Erwen Parreno, Desederio Asyon Jr., and Ed Rivera for the Warriors.
While Ollan Omiping contributed 20 points and Anton Tolentino got 14 points for the Responders.
In the other game, the Department of Agriculture Food Masters handed out PITC Global Traders’ second loss of the season in a toe-to-toe match, 68-64.
This is the second win of the Food Masters at UNTV Cup Season 8 with no loss yet.
Game 1: DENR def. PNP, 88-77
DENR 88 – R. Lansang 21, M. Bangal 21, P. Parreño 13, E. Rivera 11, D. Ayson 10, A. Gamboa 8, A. Atablanco 2, R. Abanes 2
PNP 77 – O. Omiping 20, A. Tolentino 14, M. Flormata 13, R. Villanueva 10, R. Cabrera 8, C. Elopre 6, H. Decena 2, J. Misola 2, J. Nicolas 2
Quarter Scores: 21-18, 38-44, 69-54, 88-77
PLAYERS OF GAME:
Ralph Lansang – 21 PTS, 8 REB, 7 STL, 1 BLK
Ed Rivera – 11 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST, 5 STL
Game 2: AFP def. SSS, 100-86
AFP 100 – A. Zuñiga 18, W. Sergio 17, W. Casulla 10, E. Rosopa 9, R. Pascual 9 R. Almerol 8, R. Araneta 8, V. Evidor 7, B. Bautista 6, P. Fernandez 3, D. Cordero 3, J. Lumongsod 2
SSS 86 – C. Quiambao 41, J. Roman 16, F. Sarmiento 12, R. Guierrez 6, S. Paclibare 2, M. Rapadas 2, R. Zarraga 2, M. Hernandez 2, S. Trinidad 2, R. Puño 1
Quarter Scores: 28-19, 57-36, 81-53, 100-86
PLAYERS OF GAME:
Winston Sergio – 17 PTS, 2 REB, 1 STL, 1 AST
Alvin Zuniga – 18 PTS,2 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL
Game 3: Agriculture def. PITC, 68-64
Agriculture 68 – C. Dematera 16, E. Oreta 14, S. Silva 11, J. Casaysayan 10, B. Mastelero 8, M. Lim 6, M. Tayer 3
PITC 64 – R. Vasallo 13, M. Martin 13, A. Taplah 10, H. Porto 8, R. Regalado 6, R. Barbers 4, M. Gecale 4, L. Lopez 4, M. Juan 2
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