The AFP Cavaliers did not give any chances for Senate Defenders to recover in the best-of-three UNTV Cup Season 7 finals series where the men in uniform defeated the defending champion at their face-off on Monday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum with final score of 88-78.
In the first period, both teams exchanged defensive and offensive plays rapidly but, in the end, the Senate Defenders led by 4 points, 18-14.
But the men in uniform started to dominate the Senate team in the 2nd quarter.
The lead of the Cavaliers blew up to 10 points, 62-52, led by the scorching Jerry Lumongsod who bucketed 11 points.
The Defenders tried to rally back but it was not enough because Boyet Bautista and Jerry Lumongsod were on fire, shooting 5 threes. All in all, the AFP team made 11 three-point shots while Senate only had two.
Champion coach Sonny Manuca said, “Talagang pinaghirapan namin, since day 1. Talagang sabi namin sa isa’t- isa, nagkaroon kami ng commitment na pipilitin naming kunin ulit yung championship…with God’s grace, eto binigaysa amin [We really worked hard for this since Day 1. We all agreed to aim for another championship… with God’s grace, we achieved it].”
Jerry Lumongsod was hailed as the best player of the game and Finals MVP with 26 points, 3 steals, 3 assists and 1 rebound.
“Sobrang saya, second season ko sa UNTV Cup nakuha namin yung kampyonato. Ako pa yung Finals MVP, talagang overwhelmed [I am very happy. In my second season at UNTV Cup, we earned a championship title and I am also the Most Valuable Player in the Finals. It’s really overwhelming],” said the Air Force Cavalier.
AFP’s rookie player Darwin Cordero also added 19 points while the “Bullet” Boyet Bautista listed 18 points and center Jeffrey Quiambao dropped 11 points.
As for the Senate Defenders, Season 7 MVP Jeffrey Sanders produced 13 points, James Mangaran and Harly Ng got 12, Marlon Legaspi got 11, while Rommel Balboa connected 10 points.
Senator Sonny Angara said, “Unang-una, congratulations sa AFP Cavaliers, very deserving sila na magingkampeon. At pasalamat kami ulit sa UNTV Season 7, pitong taon ng pamimigay po, palaki ng palaki. Thank you mula sa aming mga beneficiaries yung Kyte Foundation, saka yung Pangarap [Foundation]. Scholarship po at mga gamut. Marami pong matutuwa at salamat [Firstly, congratulations to the AFP Cavaliers. They are really deserving. Thank you to UNTV Cup, seven years of giving and the league continue to grow. Thank you also from our beneficiaries, Kythe Foundation and Pangarap Foundation. [Our cash prize will be used for] scholarships and medicines. Many will be happy. Thank you].”
“Yung sa amin, sinubukan namin pero talagang kinulang. Kung effort lang pag-uusapan, hindi naman kasi kinulang pero ang galing ng shooting ng AFP [On our part, we tried but it really fell short. But talking about effort, we did a lot but AFP was its best in shooting],” the senator explained.
The champion, AFP Cavaliers will be able to donate their cash prize of P4,000,000 to their chosen beneficiary: AFP Educational Benefit System Office.
The Senate Defenders, on the other hand, will receive P2,000,000 for their charities: Kythe Foundation and Pangarap Foundation.
AFP Cavaliers now holds the record of being the first team to have 3 regular season champion titles and will have the opportunity to be the first team to have a back-to-back championship come Season 8. – Bernard Dadis
AFP (88) – J. Lumongsod 26, D. Cordero 19, B. Bautista 18, J. Quiambao 11, E. Tan 5, W. Casulla 4, R. Pascual 3, R. Almerol 2
Senate (78) – J. Sanders 13, J. Mangaran 12, H. Ng 12, M. Legaspi 11, R. Balboa 10, R. Malaga 9, M. Omega 6, G. Sevilla 5