Armed Forces of the Philippines became the first three-time champion of the UNTV Cup by sweeping Senate in the best-of-three title series Monday night before a huge crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Getting stellar performances from Jerry Lumongsod, Darwin Cordero and Boyet Bautista, the AFP Cavaliers ousteadied the Senate Defenders, 88-78, in Game 2 for a fitting finish to another year of dominance.
Lumongsod erupted for 26 points aside from posting three assists, three steals and a rebound to clinch the Finals MVP. He scored 14 points in the team’s 76-73 win in Game 1.
Also shining for the Cavaliers were Darwin Cordero and former Letran star Boyet Bautista who contributed 19 and 18 points.
Jeffrey Quiambao added 11 points aside from making life miserable for the usually high-scoring Garri Sevilla who struggled big time on 2-of-10 shooting from the field.
AFP’s title win was worth P4 million to its beneficiary – the AFP’s Education Benefit Systems Office.
The Cavaliers, who also triumphed in 2024 and 2016, did not go home empty-handed as UNTV President and CEO Dr. Daniel Razon handed them their P500,000 prize while the dethroned champions got P300,000.
Kythe Foundation, Tahanang Mapagpala Immaculada Concepcion, Inc. and Bahay Pangarap Foundation, Inc. – the chosen beneficiaries of the Defenders – will have to share equally the P2 million.
“Everybody gave their all but the Cavaliers just played much harder so I congratulate them for a job well done,” said Razon. “Ang paggawa ng mabuti ay hindi magbubunga ng masama. So to all the teams who took part in the tournament, congratulations.”
Aside from Razon, also present during the game witnessed by close to 10,000 fans were UNTV executive Gerry Panghulan, Senators Joel Villanueva and Sonny Angara, Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado, Jr., Major Gen. Ericksson Gloria, Brig. Gen. Arnold Fernandez, Col. Taharudin Piang Ampatuan, Col. Dennis Macalintal Senate Secretary Myra Marie Villarica.
The Cavaliers trailed early but got into the offensive groove in the second quarter that saw them take the lead 39-37 before controlling the tempo of the game to prevail to the delight of their officials and backers.
AFP 88 – Lumongsod 26, Cordero 19, Bautista 18, Quiambao 11, Tan 5, Casulla 4, Pascual 3, Almerol 2.
Senate 78 – Sanders 13, Mangaran 12, Ng 12, Legaspi 11, Balboa 10, Malaga 9, Omega 6, Sevilla 5.
Quarters: 14-18, 39-37, 62-52, 88-78.