SENATE leaned on a torrid start and clobbered Malacañang-Philippine Sports Commission, 77-62, at the start of their best-of-three title series in the 6th UNTV Cup at the Pasig City Sports Center.
With Gary Sevilla and former PBA player Jeff Sanders leading the way, the Defenders raced to a 10-point lead in the first 10 minutes of play, padded it to 23 points at the end of the third to turn what was expected to be a close fight into a runaway win.
Senate can clinch its first UNTV title with another win on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The champion team gets P500,000 and tournament organizers will donate P4 million to its chosen charity. The runner-up gets P300,000 and P2 million will be given to the team’s chosen charity.
Two-time champion and top seed Armed Forces of the Philippines salvaged some measure of pride by edging No. 2 National Housing Authority, 85-84, in the battle for third.
Aside from a well-balanced attack, Senate coach Mike Fermin also praised the team’s defense that limited the usually explosive Eric de la Cuesta to just eight points.
Sevilla led the Defenders with 15 points and four rebounds while Sanders had 13 points, three rebounds and three blocks.
It was a total team effort for Senate as even Sen. Joel Villanueva contributed eight points, three rebounds and a steal while James Mangaran had nine points and nine boards.
Senate 77 – Sevilla 15, Sanders 13, Mangaran 9, Villanueva 8, Balboa 6, Ng 6, Malaga 5, Omega 3, Legaspi 3, Angara 2, Golding 2, Andaya 1.
Malacañang-PSC 62 – Luanzon 21, Javier 10, Dela Cuesta 8, Garrido 7, Ignario 7, Magadia 5, Gadong 3, Besa 1.
Quarterscores: 22-12; 37-24; 56-33; 77-62