The PNP held the lead in the first to third quarters of the ball game.
But in the last minute of the ball game, the PNP was held at a standstill at 66, and the Defenders had the cops on the run when shots after shots were fired until the final buzzer of the game went off 74-66.
Senators Sonny Angara and Joel Villanueva, with their leadership and performance, contributed hugely to the win.
“Well, syempre natutuwa kami na natalo namin ang isang napakagaling na koponan. Full credit sa PNP dahil for three quarters mukhang sila ang mananalo at hindi madali ang game na iyon,” Senator Sonny Angara said.
Sen. Joel Villanueva added: “Well iyon naman talaga ang goal since day one. And we’re just so happy we’re playing really well… and I think we finally figured out among ourselves kung ano ang character ng team, which is we’re not going to win unless we play defense.”
The PNP’s side, on the other hand, was led by Assistant Coach PO3 Artemio Marquez and Harold Sta. Cruz on Sunday.
Garri Sevilla with his 22 points, 5 rebounds, and one assist was hailed the best player of the game.
The win gave the Senate a ticket to the semifinals.
It was in Season 3 when the Senate town last held a top-four spot in the league, while in Season 5, they were not able to enter the win column.
Despite the absence of star player Christian Luanzon, the Kamao endured the challenge posed by the two-time champion, with best players of the game Eric Dela Cuesta and Vishnu das Javier leading in the scoring department.
Kamao Assistant Coach Raffy Gozalez said: “Si Christian pinadala ng PSC sa Abra, may clinic. Para sa kanya rin itong game na ito. Kahit wala si Chris, ipinakita ng teammates niya talagang laban.”
The semifinal round will kick off on Sunday, February 10 at the Pasig City Sports Center where the NHA Builders, with a twice-to-beat advantage, awaits the Malacanang-PSC Kamao in the first game.
The teams to watch out for in the second game are the Senate Defenders and the AFP Cavaliers, which has the twice-to-beat advantage. — Bernard Dadis / UNTV News & Rescue
GAME 1: Senate defeat PNP, 74-66.
Quarter Scores: 17-19, 40-37, 55-58, 74-66
Box Scores: 74
G. Sevilla 22, J. Mangaran 16, J. Sanders 13, R. Balboa 8, M. Legaspi 5, H. Ng 5, M. Omega 3, E. Villanueva 2
Box Scores: 66
A. Tolentino 14, O. Omiping 13, J. Cabahug 6, C. Elopre 6, J. Misola 6, R. Cabrera 6, J. Criste 6, R. Abaya 4, A. Yanquiling 3, H. Decena 2
GAME 2: Malacañang-PSC defeat Judiciary, 79-64.
Quarter Scores: 24-17, 36-33, 53-54, 79-64
Box Scores: 79
E. Dela Cuesta 15, J. Jimenez 14, V. Javier 12, N. Javier 10, J. Besa 9, I. Garrido 7, M. Ignario 7, G. Gadong 3, R. Abalos 2
Box Scores: 64
J. Rabino 15, F. Salamat 14, C. Camaso 10, C. Tolomia 10, W. Ybañez 9, V. Puno 4, C. Roma 2