DISPLAYING steely nerves in the payoff period, the AFP Cavaliers pulled off a thrilling 74-73 come-from-behind victory over PNP Responders to pocket the championship trophy of the UNTV Cup Season 2 on Tuesday night.
With the Cavaliers behind by seven points halfway in the fourth, Winston Sergio orchestrated the the big plays down the stretch as the AFP team completed a gigantic reversal of fortune in this sudden-death final duel.
Sergio dished off a nifty pass to a wide open Wilfred Casulla underneath for a go-ahead basket that gave AFP the upperhand, 72-71. Then, Roland Pascual fished a foul from PNP slotman Harold Sta. Cruz—his fifth and final in the game-- and nailed the two free throws to pad the lead to three, 74-71, with only 34 seconds left.
In the return play, league MVP Olan Omiping completed two free throws to peg the final score. The Responders had the opportunity to steal the win after Pascual missed a short jumper on the end.
But the Cavaliers made one big defensive stop on Japhet Cabahug, who forced a jumper against solid defenders as time expired, prompting the AFP bench and its supporters to erupt in celebration.
AFP took home P1.5 million, which will be donated to the AFP Educational Benefit System Office. It was a disappointing loss for PNP which also failed in its final bid last year against Judiciary Magis.
PNP settled for the P650,000 cash prize which they will donate to their chosen charitable institution.