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Philippine National Police foiled Malacañang’s repeated rallies and scored a 67-61 win to force a sudden death in their UNTV Cup title series held Tuesday before a huge crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
As usual, OWlan Omiping, a former University of the East standout, starred for the PNP Responders as he scored 22 points, including a shot-beating side jumper that gave them a 66-61 lead with barely 10 ticks left.
PNP’s win levelled the best-of-three series at 1-1.
Game 3 is set on Tuesday with Omiping and company hoping to finally nail their first championship after three failed attempts in the tournament organized by UNTV president and CEO Daniel Razon for public servants.
It was PNP’s first Game 2 victory in four finals appearances and likewise its first at the Big Dome.
“Finally, we won a Game 2 and more importantly, we finally won here at the Araneta,” beamed Omiping. “Nakikita ko na ang mangyayari nito, but we have to play tough in Game 3, especially on the defensive end.”
PNP’s improved defense limited the usually high-scoring Erick dela Cuesta to a charity.
If PNP goes on to win the title, its P4 million prize will go to Police Community Relations Group “Drug Rehabilitation Program”.
The runner-up gets P2 million which will also go to the team’s chosen charity.
Christian Luanzon, who led Malacañang in its 82-81 win in Game 1 with 29 points, was held to just 21 this time.
PNP 67 − Omiping 22, Criste 10, Tolentino 7, Yanquiling 7, H. Sta. Cruz 6, J. Misola 5, Ongutan 4, Cabahug 2, Abaya 2, Cabrera 2, Elopre 0, Bayabao 0.
MALACAÑANG 61− Luanzon 21, Garrido15, Javier 15, Jimenez 5, Yamamoto 2, N. Javier 2, E. Dela Cuesta 1, R. Abalos 0.
Quarters: 16-15; 38-28; 54-47; 67-61.