TWO-TIME champion Judiciary outlasted Philippine International Trading Center (PITC), 65-55, in a do-or-die game to clinch the fourth and last semifinal ticket in the 8th UNTV Cup held over the weekend at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Judiciary Magis finally broke open a tight contest after former PBA players Warren Ybanez and Chester Tolomia connived with Eric Dionisio in a telling run in the annual tournament organized by UNTV president and CEO Dr. Daniel Razon for public servants.
Judiciary earned a date in the best-of-three semifinals against No. 1 seed and defending champion Armed Forces of the Philippines starting this Sunday, in the same venue.
The other semis pairing will have No. 2 seed Department of Environment and Natural Resources going up against National Housing Authority.
A tax-free P4 million grand prize will go to the chosen charity of the championship at the end of the once-a-week tournament next month. The runner-up’s own charity will receive P2 million.
Frederick Salamat and Ybanez, who carried the fight for the Magis in the first half, finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively, while Tolomia added 12 and Dionisio 8 in the team's seventh win in 12 games after the quarterfinal round.
Department of Agriculture also finished with a 7-5 record following an 87-83 win over NHA early in the day but Judiciary took the last semis berth due to the winner over the other rule.
AFP and DENR advanced outright to the semis after finishing 1-2 in the two-stage elimination round.
DA 87 - Fernandez 27, Dematera 16, Mastelero 13, Casaysayan 12, Silva 11, Hassan 4, Lim 2, Comerciase 2.
NHA 83 - Prado 22, Vitug 14, Lustestica 10, Tibay 9, J. Dizon 8, Tibay 8, Mercado 4, Crisostomo 3, Forbes 2, M. Dizon 2, Alastoy 1.
Quarters: 12-18, 38-34, 62-57, 87-83
JUDICIARY 65 - Salamat 16, Ybanez 14, Tolomia 12, Dionisio 8, Dela Cruz 7, Bergonio 5, Marquez 3, Puno 0, Serrano 0, Mustre 0.
PITC 55 - Vasallo 19, Porto 15, Taplah 10, Lopez 6, Martin 5, Regalado 0, Juan 0, Barbers 0, Gecale 0, Almarinez 0.
Quarters: 24-15, 34-31, 48-46, 65-55