Press Release
February 5, 2018

Senate Defenders rout defending champ PNP, earn spot for UNTV Cup semis

The Senate Defenders secured a spot in the semi-finals of the 6th Season of the UNTV Cup, after they overwhelmed defending champions Philippine National Police (PNP) Responders, 74-66, in the playoffs game last Sunday, February 4 at the Pasig Sports Center. This will be the first time the Senate team will have a shot at winning the UNTV Cup, after previous efforts in the last five seasons have proven unfruitful.

Defenders Guard Garri Sevilla was hailed as the best player with 22 points and five rebounds.

"Our mindset was to stay focused during the game. Work as a team, play as a team," Sevilla said.

The two teams were engaged in a bitter, close fight throughout the game, but the Senate snatched a three-point lead in the fifth-minute during the fourth-quarter 63-60, thanks to back-to-back triples by Marlon Legaspi and James Mangaran.

The Responders, however rallied back from the deficit and edged out the Defenders 66-65 in the last two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter.

But the Responders failed to mount any defense to Sevilla's clutch shooting, which contributed the crucial seven points in the final moments of the game.

Defenders skipper Senator Sonny Angara, who was acting coach during the game, said he was very grateful to his teammates for their winning efforts.

"I'm was not worried at all, because we have the talent," Angara said.

For his part, Senator Joel Villanueva attributed the victory to the team's "winning character."

"We have showed them what kind of team we are," Villanueva said.

Senate Coach Mike Fermin commended the two senators for showing "selfless leadership" and for being an inspiration to the whole team.

With a streak of eight wins and three losses so far, Defenders Assistant Coach Rodelio Dascil said that the current season is a "big turnaround" for the team, especially after last year's disappointing performance.

"After five seasons of playing in the UNTV Cup, this will be the first time the Defenders will play in the semi-final round," he said.

Fermin said while the team was enjoying their latest victory, they will have to work harder during the semi-final games where they will be facing the top-seeded Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Cavaliers on Sunday, February 11 also at the Pasig Sports Center. ###

The scores: Senate 74: Sevilla (22), Mangaran (16), Sanders (13), Balboa (8), Legaspi (5), Ng (5), Omega (3), Villanueva (2), Andaya (0), Malaga (0), Marata (0)

PNP 66: Tolentino, Jr., (14), Omiping (13), Cabahug (6), Cabrera (6), Elopre (6), Misola (6), Abaya (4), Yanquiling III (3), Decena (2), Sta. Cruz (0), Saracho (0), Ongutan (0), Tacsay (0)

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