DEFENDING champion Senate and Armed Forces of the Philippines kept their share of Group A lead by downing their respective rivals even as PhilHealth stunned Malacañang-Philippine Sports Commission in the 7thUNTV Cup on Sunday at the Pasig City Sports Center.
The Senate Defenders rode on a big second quarter to beat the Justice Boosters, 87-72, while the AFP Cavaliers downed the PITC Global Traders, 78-68, for their third win in as many games.
Kenneth Emata buried a buzzer-beating three as the PhilHealth Plus defeated the Kamao, 90-87, in the tournament organized by UNTV president and CEO Daniel Razon.
Emata finished with nine points while former Letran star Jonathan Aldave scored a game-high 36 aside from grabbing seven boards in the tournament offering P4 million to the chosen charity of the champion team.
PhilHealth’s win was its second straight since dropping its first two games while the Palace absorbed its first loss in three games.
Senate held DOJ to just two points in the second quarter after the latter fell into a maze of errors in the face of the Defenders’ airtight defense, giving them a 44-23 halftime lead.
Former PBA player Jeff Sanders led the Mike Fermin-mentored Senate squad with 23 points and 20 boards while Garry Sevilla and Sen. Joel Villanueva added 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The Cavaliers, on the other hand, leaned on a well-balanced attack to stay unbeaten with Jerry Lumongsod leading four AFP players in double figures with 19 points.