UNTV Cup opened its third season last November 17, 2014 at Mall of Asia Arena. This was the first time that games of the league was played at MOA and this was also the first time, that in opening night, double header games were set. 11 teams joined the 3rd season in which three were new faces, NHA Builders, GSIS Furies and BFP Firefighters. Aside from MOA, fist time venues of the 3rd season were the Makati Coliseum and University of Makati. One name standed out in the opening day and became an instant fan favorite because of his skills and exciting brand of play. He is the prized point guard of NHA, Waldemar Tibay although his team was beaten by defending champion AFP Cavaliers. PNP Responders also won on opening day with their new head coach Estong Ballesteros.
The BFP is the 1st rookie team that tasted a win after they dumped the HOR Solons 105-81 last November 30 at the University of Makati. In the encounter of two rookie squads last December 3 at the Ynares Sports Arena, GSIS edged NHA, 86-81. Also in that day, we saw the potential of Judiciary Magis to dominate Season 3 when they thrashed AFP, 93-76. In the next playing date, we witnessed the end game prowess of Malacañang Patriots when they turned back PNP, 66-64. On December 14, 2014 before the year ended, DOJ Justice Boosters recorded their historic 1st win in UNTV Cup in 3 seasons, when they demolished the HOR Solons, 110-88. DOJ won another game in the 1st round elimination when they beat BFP 75-69 on January 16,2015 at Makati Coliseum.
New comer GSIS surprised AFP 100-87 last January 11 at Makati Coliseum. Before the 1st round elims closed, MMDA survived the hustle of NHA, 104-96 in the 1st overtime game in the league, actually it’s a double overtime. Eight teams qualified through the 2nd round elimiantions led by undefeated Malacañang and Judiciary. HOR, GSIS and NHA were eliminated. 2nd round became more exciting and interesting. Inspired because of SAF 44 incident, PNP escaped past Judiciary, 87-84 last February 1 at Ynares Sports Arena. Senate Defenders proved that they really improved this season when they ended the four game winning streak of Malacañang, 77-63 last February 8 at Ynares. Patriots got back and also proved that they are the team to beat this season by winning over AFP, 79-76 last February 22 at Ynares. Senate continued on its rampage when they upset PNP 83-77 last March 1. Also on that day in the battle of league leaders, Malacañang edged Judiciary 69-65. Before elimination ended, AFP defeated rival PNP last March 8 in the last playing date of the elimination round. For being top two finishers, Malacañang and Judiciary automatically advanced in the semifinals round. Senate made short work of DOJ in the quarterfinals. Also AFP trounced out PNP in one game. In the final 4, no.2 seed Judiciary subdued Senate in a game where Senator Antonio Trillanes IV played.
Malacañang Patriots used two games in disposing the defending champion AFP. Malacañang Patriots versus Judiciary Magis best of three championship series was set.
Judiciary swept Malacañang 2-0 to be crowned the Season 3 kings.
Season 3 ended last April 28 at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Magis forward Ariel Capus was awarded the MVP plum and he was joined by teammate Don Camaso, Senate’s Marlon Legaspi, PNP’s Ollan Omiping and AFP’s Eugene Tan in the First Team.
In the exhibition game, Skywalker All Star composed of 4 time PBA MVP’s Mon Fernandez, Alvin Patrimonio and other PBA legends like Atoy Co, Bogs Adornado, Allan Caidic and Johnny Abarrientos overpowered UNTV Cup Selection led by Omiping and Tibay, 102-94. Skywalker Samboy Lim received 1 million pesos to be used for his medication and recovery.
The man behind the UNTV Cup, Mr. Public Service Daniel Razon announced that this will just be the start of the partnership as UNTV Cup and PBA Legends will continue to help retired PBA players who are in need.
For being the champion, Judiciary was able to give two million pesos cash prize to court personnels who have serious ailments or injuries while in service and to their heirs when they will pass away.
1st runner up Malacañang donated their one million pesos to PSG Hospital.
2nd runner up AFP gave their 500,000 pesos reward to AFP Educational Benefit System Office while 3rd runner up Senate granted their 250,000 pesos to Khyte Foundation and Pangarap Foundation. All other seven teams received 100,000 pesos to be given to their chosen charities. More than 5 million pesos was given away by UNTV Cup to charity. We saw unpredictable games in Season 3. The competition was more balanced. The cash prize for charity also increased. We have a new MVP. Gate attendance also increased. This is UNTV Cup Season 3! Ito ang bagong game ko! Ang Liga ng Public Servants! Can’t wait for Season 4!
(pictures courtesy of PHOTOVILLE International)