Top seed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and second-ranked Philippine National Police (PNP) hope to seal a grudge title rematch as they go for big wins at the start of their respective best-of-three semis series on Sunday in the 7th UNTV Cup at the Pasig City Sports Center.
The AFP Cavaliers collide with the National Housing Authority Builders at 3 p.m. with the former hoping to sustain their winning run despite a month-long hiatus after advancing outright to the semis for the topping the two-phase elims.
On the other hand, the PNP Responders collide with the Senate Defenders at 5 p.m. with PNP determined to settle an old score with the defending champion.
The Responders likewise advanced to the semis automatically after owning the second-best record in the tournament organized by UNTV president and CEO Dr. Daniel Razon for public servants.
Led by former Letran star guard Boyet Bautista and Dale Cordero, the Cavaliers finished with an 8-1 mark while the Responders, led by ex-University of the East player Olan Omiping and Harold Sta. Cruz wound up with a 7-2 record.
The winners in both series will fight it out for title with chosen charity of the champion team receiving a tax-free P4 million prize. The foundation selected by the runner-up gets P2 million.
Also expected to deliver for the two-time champions Cavaliers is Fred Casulla.
Out to spearhead the Defenders are Jeff Sanders, Marlon Legaspi and Sen. Joel Villanueva – the same players who keyed the team’s massive 82-61 win over Malacanang-Philippine Sports Commission last Sunday.
In what could be his most explosive game in the tournament, Sanders finished with 24 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the field highlighted by five triples.
Former UST hotshot and NHA coach Bennet Palad is looking to get the same intensity and sharpness from Marvin Mercado who topscored for the team with 25 points.