UNTV Cup founder, Public Service advocate, Daniel Razon leads the ceremonial jump ball for the game Senate Defenders versus PITC Global Traders to formally open the seventh season of the League of Public Servants. (Fred Alvior / Photoville International)
Cheers and screams from eager fans echoed in the big dome when season seven of UNTV Cup opened Monday night.
First teams to battle on the hard court were PITC Global Traders and season six champion Senate Defenders who scored eight points courtesy of Senator Manny Pacquiao several seconds into the game.
But PITC Global Traders, the newest team to join the league of public servants, proved they are a force to reckon with when they showed tight defense plays and smooth ball transitions to dominate the first quarter, 27-14, with nine forced senate turnovers.
Defenders tried to recover in the second quarter upon seeing PITC’s moves, slashing the latter’s first-half lead by eight points.
But Global Traders remained aggressive in the third quarter, blocking Defenders from scoring from the paint area and bucketing 4 out of 4 in the field goal to edge out Senate, 58-49.
But in the last quarter, the Defenders held on to its never-say-die spirit to slowly grind PITC’s defenses and eventually scoring its first win.
James Ryan Mangaran’s three-point shot in the last three minutes and another in the last minute and 15 seconds of the game lifted the Senate to victory, 73-70.
Mangaran was hailed the best player after bucketing 11 points, 7 rebounds and two steals and blocks.
Garry Sevilla contributed 20 points, Jeffrey Sanders with 14 points and 12 from Pacquiao.
Senator Manny Pacquiao said, “Bless ng Panginoon at nanalo kami at walang nasaktan maganda ang laro at masaya ang mga tao (God blessed us, we won and no one was hurt. Everybody is just happy).”
“Maraming pahihirapan ang PITC… mahuhusay ang coaching staff nila… on our part naman it’s a wake up call for us na hindi namin pwedeng balewalain ang ibang team… ang usapan defend the crown, kung gusto nila kunin sa atin hindi nila basta pwede kunin ng basta basta, mahihirapan sila,” Senate Defenders Head Coach Mike Fermin said.
(PITC will punish many teams at UNTV Cup… their coaching staff are very good… on our part… it’s a wake up call for us not take any teams for granted… our theme is “Defend the crown.” If there will be teams that will try to dethrone us we will give them a good fight.)
PITC Global Traders Head Coach Victor Ycasiano said, “We lost because we are a new team. We’re just new, we’re just practicing for a month. I’m expecting those to happen for a new team pero sa akin I’m happy how we played. We play the defending champion, kahit papaano napasaya namin ang nanuod sa Araneta. Hindi kami naka-disappoint ng league (somehow we made the audience happy, we didn’t disappoint).” — Bernard Dadis | UNTV News & Rescue.