Two-time champion Judiciary outlasted Philippine International Trading Center (PITC), 65-55, in their do-or-die duel to clinch the fourth and last semifinal ticket in the 8th UNTV Cup held over the weekend at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Judiciary Magis finally pulled away from a tight contest after former PBA players Warren Ybanez and Chester Tolomia connived with Eric Dionisio in a telling run to prevail and complete the semis cast in the annual tournament organized by UNTV President and CEO Dr. Daniel Razon for public servants.
Judiciary’s victory earned for itself a semis date with No. 1 seed and defending champion Armed Forces of the Philippines starting this Sunday also at the same venue.
The other semis pairing – also a best-of-three affair – will have No. 2 seed Department of Environment and Natural Resources going up against National Housing Authority.
A tax-free P4 million grand prize will go to the chosen charity of the champion at the end of the once-a-week tourney next month. The runner-up’s own charity will receive P2 million.
Frederick Salamat and Ybanez, who carried the fight for the Magis in the first half, finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively, while Tolomia added 12 and Dionisio 8 in posting their 7th win in 12 games after the quarterfinal round.
Department of Agriculture also finished with a 7-5 record following an 87-83 win over NHA early in the day but Judiciary took the last semis berth due to the winner over the other rule.
AFP and DENR advanced outright to the semis after finishing 1-2 in the two-stage elimination round.
DA (87) - Fernandez 27, Dematera 16, Mastelero 13, Casaysayan 12, Silva 11, Hassan 4, Lim 2, Comerciase 2.
NHA (83) - Prado 22, Vitug 14, Lustestica 10, Tibay 9, J. Dizon 8, Tibay 8, Mercado 4, Crisostomo 3, Forbes 2, M. Dizon 2, Alastoy 1.
Quarterscores: 12-18, 38-34, 62-57, 87-83
Judiciary (65) - Salamat 16, Ybanez 14, Tolomia 12, Dionisio 8, Dela Cruz 7, Bergonio 5, Marquez 3, Puno 0, Serrano 0, Mustre 0.
PITC (55) - Vasallo 19, Porto 15, Taplah 10, Lopez 6, Martin 5, Regalado 0, Juan 0, Barbers 0, Gecale 0, Almarinez 0.
Quarterscores: 24-15, 34-31, 48-46, 65-55