FORMER PBA player Jeff Sanders buried five triples to highlight a perfect 8-of-8 shooting performance as defending champion Senate blasted Malacañang-Philippine Sports Commission, 82-61, to advance to the semifinals of the 7th UNTV Cup at the Pasig City Sports Center.
It could have been a perfect performance for the veteran small forward had he not bungled one of his four free throws, but still he was delighted with his game – his finest so far in the event for public servants.
He went on to finish with 24 points, seven rebounds, four steals and blocks as the Senate Defenders topped the quarterfinal round with an 8-4 card, thus earning the right to face No. 2 Philippine National Police in the semis.
National Housing Authority, handled by former UST hotshot Bennet Palad, completed the semis cast by eking out a pulsating 66-63 win over the PITC Global Traders.
Thanks to their solid defense, the Builders held the usually explosive Haddi Porto scoreless to arrange a best-of-three semis with top seed Armed Forces of the Philippines starting on Sunday.
Palad also credited the team’s victory to the stellar showing of Marvin Mercado, who scored seven of his game-high 25 points in the fourth period that scuttled PITC’s last-ditch comeback.
The chosen charity of the champion team in the tournament organized by UNTV president and CEO Dr. Daniel Razon will receive a tax-free P4 million while the charity of the runner-up gets P2 million.
With Sanders, Marlon Legaspi and Sen. Joel Villanueva at the helm, the Defenders ripped the game wide open in the third after stealing seven times that led to a mighty 34-15 run, given them a 68-52 cushion going into the final quarter.
Legaspi and Villanueva chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.