Philippine National Police (PNP) and Malacañang downed their respective rivals in contrasting fashions over the weekend and marched into the semis of the 5th UNTV Cup at the Pasig City Sports Center.
Getting 29 points from former University of the Easy player Ollan Omiping, the PNP Responders survived the spirited challenge of Bureau of Fire Protection Firefighters, 82-70, to arrange a semis duel with No. 2 Judiciary in the semis.
The Malacañang Kamao, on the other hand, rode on a torrid shooting of Christian Luanzon and Eric dela Cuesta in the first half to eliminate defending champion Armed Forces of the Philippines Cavaliers, 73-54.
The Kamao’s win set them up a semis showdown with top seed Bureau of Customs in the other pair of the event for public servants and organized by UNTV through its president and CEO Daniel Razon.
The BoC Transformers and the Judiciary Magis enjoy twice-to-beat privileges against their rivals after finishing 1-2 in the double-round elims offering R4 million to the chosen charity of the champion team.
With Omiping scoring almost at will, the Responders controlled the tempo of the game and showed great resolve as they scuttled the Firefighters’ determined comeback in the payoff period to book a return trip to the semis.
The Responders, last year’s runners-up, also drew significant numbers from Antonio Tolentino and Harold Sta. Cruz who chipped in 16 and 9 points, respectively.
Aside from the firepower provided by Luanzon (17 pts) and Dela Cuesta (13), the Kamao also leaned on their solid defense to hold the Cavaliers to just 10 and 12 points in the first and third quarters and win pulling away.