Three-time champion Armed Forces of the Philippines and Judiciary moved closer to a projected title clash after defeating their respective rivals at the start of their best-of-three semis series in the 9th UNTV Cup held Wednesday at the Paco Arena.
With significant contributions from former PBA players Boyet Bautista, Jerry Lumongsod, and Darwin Cordero, the AFP Cavaliers crushed the NHA Home Masters, 91-79. Meanwhile, the Judiciary Magis made a gallant comeback to beat the PNP Responders, 74-65.
AFP and Judiciary will aim to finish off their rivals on Sunday in the tournament, which offers a tax-free P3 million top prize to the chosen charity of the champion team.
In the Executive Face-Off, Senators Bong Go and Joel Villanueva combined for 35 points, leading the Senate Sentinels to a 72-69 victory against Associate Justice Jose Midas Marquez’s Judiciary Magis for their second straight win.
In the other EFO match, Marvin Jason Bayang and Franz Alvarez continued their rampage as the OP Executives defeated the Ombudsman Graftbusters, 65-56, also securing their second win in the event organized by Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International CEO and President Daniel Razon.
The Magis beat the Responders with the help of PBA veterans Chester Tolomia and Warren Ybanez, and Richard Litonjua in the clutch for the win. Tolomia led the Magis with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Litonjua and Ybanez contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Lumongsod led the Cavaliers with 22 points, while Cordero added 21, and Bautista finished with 16.