Three-time champion Armed Forces of the Philippines and Judiciary inched closer to a projected title clash after besting their respective rivals at the start of their best-of-three semis series in the 9th UNTV Cup held Wednesday at the Paco Arena.
Drawing significant numbers from the troika of former PBA player Boyet Bautista, Jerry Lumongsod and Darwin Cordero, the AFP Cavaliers destroyed the NHA Home Masters, 91-79, while the Judiciary Magis rallied gallantly to beat the PNP Responders, 74-65.
AFP and Judiciary will try to finish off their rivals on Sunday in the tournament that offers a tax free P3 million top prize to the chosen charity of the champion team.
In the Executive Face-Off, the dynamic duo of Senators Bong Go and Joel Villanueva combined for 35 points as the Senate Sentinels outlasted Associate Justice Jose Midas Marquez’ Judiciary Magis, 72-69, for their second straight win.
In the other EFO match, Marvin Jason Bayang and Franz Alvarez continued their rampage as the OP Executives downed the Ombudsman Graftbusters, 65-56, to likewise notch their second win in the event organized by Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International CEO and President Daniel Razon.
In beating the Responders, the Magis went to PBA veterans Chester Tolomia and Warren Ybanez, and Richard Litonjua in the crunch for the win.
Tolomia expectedly topscored for the Magis with 23 points on top 11 boards while Litonjua and Ybanez chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Lumongsod scattered 22 points to lead the Cavaliers while Cordero added 21 and Bautista finishing 16.