The NHA Builders set another milestone in their journey at the league of public servants.
The Builders defeated Season 5 champion PNP Responders with finals score 73 – 70 in the knock out battle for 3rd place last Sunday, March 3, at the Pasig City Sport Center.
In the first quarter, PNP Responders was in full control of the game with a comfortable seven-point lead, 18-11 with Anton Tolentino leading the charge.
But in the 2nd quarter, things turned around when the Builders produced a massive 28 points shooting 50 percent in the field, while the Responders had only 26 percent shooting percentage (17 pts).
PNP, in the 3rd period, got into foul trouble giving the NHA 11 points from the free throw line.
But in the final period, PNP shot slightly better than NHA. They were able to cut the lead to just 1 point, 71-70, in the last 25 seconds of the game through the play made by Anton Tolentino and Harold Sta. Cruz.
With 9.55 seconds left, Marvin Mercado got fouled and missed two free throws but through the hustles of John Derrick Dizon and Waldemar Tibay the ball was passed to Alvin Vitug.
Vitug was then fouled and converted two free throws.
PNP had the chance to tie the game to 73-73 when they designed a three-point play for Ollan Omiping with only 2.03 seconds left on the clock.
But through the tough defense of Alvin Vitug and reinforcement from Sherwin Crisostomo, the PNP’s “The Sniper”, failed to connect the shot from the corner.
Best Player of the Game awardee, Alvin Vitug registered 31 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist and steal.
While valuable support came from Marvin Mercado’s 16 points and 10 rebounds, John Derrick Dizon’s 11 points and 8 rebounds, Antonio Lustestica’s 6 points and 11 rebounds, and Waldemar Tibay’s 9 points and 7 rebounds.
NHA Builders Head Coach Silverio “Benett” Palad said, “Lagi kaming 4th ngayon 3rd naman, one step higher so maybe season 8 lumaban na kami sa championship.”
“Ngayon nagkakaroon na sila ng konting teamwork and unity. Nagkakaroon din ng konting confidence saka nawawala na yung init nila ng ulo yung emotional nila sa mga referees,” he added.
(We always end as 4th placer when we enter the final 4. It’s one step higher, so maybe in season 8 we will compete for the championship.
Now, my players are starting to have a little teamwork and unity. They’re also building confidence and they are not hot-headed and emotional anymore with referees’ calls.)
PNP Responders Coach Juven Formacil said, “Though lumaban nga, na short pa rin kami sa depensa namin. Yung adjustment namin nag-click naman pero breaks of the game, di namin mako-control yun eh.”
(We fought but we came up short in our defense. Our adjustment clicked but we can’t control the breaks of the game.)
With this win, NHA Builders will be able to donate the P1,000,000 cash prize to their team’s chosen beneficiary, the NHA Provident Funds.
PNP gets P500,000 cash prize for their team’s chosen beneficiary, the Public Assistance for Rescue, Disaster and Support Services (PARDSS) Foundation International, Inc.
Meanwhile, in the game between Senate vs AFP, the AFP was trailing behind Senate all throughout the game with 11 points Senate lead from the 3rd quarter until the 1:29 of the 4th quarter, when they took the lead via Eugene Tan’s 3 points shot, 74-73.
And then the momentum shifted to AFP’s favor.
AFP is one win away from claiming their 3rd championship title via UNTV Cup Season 7 Finals, while the Senate Defenders will have to win the next two games to be able to make history of becoming the first team to win two-consecutive championship title yet.
Watch Game 2 of the best of three finals on March 11, 2019, Monday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum and on UNTV channel, Facebook and website.
— Bernard Dadis with contributions from Raymond Lacsa
NHA (73) — A. Vitug 31, M. Mercado 16, J. Dizon 11, W. Tibay 9, A. Lustestica 6
PNP (70) — A. Tolentino 21, O. Omiping 15, H. Sta. Cruz 9, R. Cabrera 7, J. Misola 5, R. Villanueva 5, R. Abaya 2, R. Decena 2, R. Serrano 2, A. Bayabao 2
Quarterscores: 11-18, 39-35, 57-52, 73-70
AFP (76) — E. Tan 18, D. Cordero 16, B. Bautista 15, J. Lumongsod 14, R. Pascual 6, W. Casulla 5, J. Quiambao 2
SENATE (73) — J. Sanders 24, G. Sevilla 18, M. Legaspi 10, J. Mangaran 8, R. Balboa 7, H. Ng 4, M. Omega 2