DESPITE the bad weather on Tuesday, Philippine National Police (PNP) launched its title-retention on a high note, beating Bureau of Fire Protection, 87-79, in the opening of the 6th UNTV Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Responders had to lean on the heroics of two-time MVP Olan Omiping to pull off the win before an expected huge crowd.
UNTV president and CEO Daniel Razon, with the assistance of BMPI-UNTV Vice president for administration Gerry Panghulan, welcomed the players and officials of the 14 participating teams during the brief but meaningful opening ceremony.
The tournament, designed for the country’s public servants, offers P4 million to the champion, P2 million to the runner-up, P1 million to the third finisher and P500,000 to the 4th placer.
The prizes, according to Razon, will benefit the chosen charities of the participating teams.
Omiping, who played for University of the East during his UAAP days, sizzled for 23 points spiked by five triples in a performance that spoiled the debut of former PBA star Rob Wainwright for the Fire Fighters.
Wainwright, who last played for the Philippine Patriots in the ABL, sparked the team’s spirited rally that saw them pull to within 82-79 only to be frustrated by Omiping’s gutsy plays.
Meantime, four more teams debut on Sunday with Department of Agriculture of Sec. Manny Pinol going up against Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency that will be led by ex-PBA star Bong Alvarez.
Department of Health and Commission of Audit – also newcomers – clash at 3:30 p.m. before last season’s runner-up Malacanang collides with Benet Palad-mentored National Housing Authority.
PNP (87) – Omiping 23, Tolentino 18, Ongutan 12, Cabahug 10, Cabrera 7, Abaya 4, Yanquiling 4, Misola 4, Elopre 3, Bayabao 2, Decena 0.
BFP (79) – Amores 23, Wainwright 21, Jayona 15, Malabanan 7, Macato 6, Cabais 5, Marquez 2, Molina 0, Namia 0, Gamboa 0, Sibal 0.
Quarterscores: 23-20; 47-37; 67-52; 87-79.