ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) inched closer to another title showdown with victories in the 7th UNTV Cup held over the weekend at the Pasig City Sports Center.
The top-seeded AFP Cavaliers leaned on the heroics of the cat-quick Jerry Lumongsod to eke out a 78-76 win over the National Housing Authority Builders in the opener of their best-of-three semis.
Ollan Oliver Omiping and Jerry Boy Saracho, on the other hand, provided the much-needed offensive punch in the payoff period to help the second-ranked PNP Responders beat the defending champions Senate Defenders, 79-74, in their own semis series.
Both AFP and PNP can forge another exciting finals encounter in the event organized by UNTV president and CEO Dr. Daniel Razon for public servants with another win on Sunday.
The chosen charity of the champion team will receive a tax-free P4 million prize while the runner-up’s own foundation gets P2 million.
A former player of the University of the East, Omiping led PNP’s decisive run that saw them outscore the Defenders, 28-15, to overcome a 59-51 deficit in the third as they extended their winning run to seven games dating back to the first stage of the elims.
Omiping finished with 27 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, aside from posting seven boards and an assist, while Saracho chipped in eight points – all in the final quarter.
Lumongsod made two quick steals in the last 14 seconds. His first off Waldemar Tibay brought him to the free throw line to shatter a 76-all count with a split. He also halved his free throws off Alvin Vitug after another heist.