How legends are made: UNTV Cup PBA Legends Face-Off Finals

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 8, 2019   •   2019

Two-time PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Danny Ildefonso will look to dominate the paint for the Beermen in tonight’s finals match. Photo courtesy of UNTV Cup.

San Miguel and Alaska will go head to head in the UNTV Cup PBA Legends Face-Off Finals on Monday (July 8) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A total of P2 million will be given to PBA Legends Foundation which helps former PBA players in need. The champion will get P1 million and half a million pesos for the second placer.

The third and fourth place will get P300,000 and P200,000, respectively.

READ: PBA and PBA Legends Foundation sign MOA to support former PBA players

These players have proven themselves timeless which makes them legends in the PBA hardcourt. But what does it take to be a legend? We asked the legends themselves.

“When you’re talking about being a legend, siguro iyong someone na nakapaglaro ng matatagal (maybe someone who has played for a long time). Kailangan may accomplishment ka, (you have to have an accomplishment) so you should have impact while you are playing. Your life off basketball should be spotless and impeccable for you to be considered a legend.” —Jojo ‘Mr. Clutch’ Lastimosa, PBA Legend Alaska

“Ang puhunan ng basketball players ay ang body. So kailangan pangangalagaan natin. Ito iyong magde-determine kung gaano kahaba ang lalaruin natin. Sa mga new generations of basketball players, minsan lang nag-na-knock iyong opportunity whether sa basketball or sa ibang field kapag may pagkakataon. Grab it. Take it. (The investment of basketball players is their body. We need to care for it. This will determine how long will we be able to play. For the new generation of basketball players, opportunity doesn’t often knock. Whether that is in basketball or other fields. Grab it. Take it).” —Kenneth ‘Captain Marbel’ Duremdes, PBA Legend Alaska

“Kapag naglalaro sila ibigay lang nila ang talagang nararapat, unang-una para sa team, para sa sarili nila, para sa pamilya. Dahil alam naman natin iyan ang nagbibigay buhay sa kanila. Huwag nilang pabayaan lalong-lalo na iyong mga sumusuporta sa kanila. (They should give what is expected of them when playing. Give it for the team, first of all, then for themselves and their families. Because we know, that’s what drives them. They should never neglect it, they should never leave their supporters.)Philip ‘The Scholar’ Cesar, PBA Legend

Aside from maglaro ulit kami together, ang added motivation doon is iyong makatulong kami sa kapwa manlalaro na nahihirapan ngayon. Iyon ang nagpapagana sa amin na maglaro ang tagal na naming hindi ginagawa ito. Alam namin na maganda ang patutunguhan ang aming ginagawa. (Aside from being able to play again together, the added motivation there is we are able to help other players who are having difficulties in life. That is what motivates us now. It has been a long time since we’ve done this. We know our actions will bear good fruits).” —Olsen ‘Rara’ Racela, PBA Legend San Miguel

UNTV Cup has donated P50-M to beneficiaries in the past 7 seasons

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 11, 2019

For the children of soldiers who died in duty.

For the rescued street children.

For patients suffering from cancer.

For the victims of calamities and disasters.

These are just some of the beneficiaries of UNTV Cup.

Since the league started in July 2013 and up to its seventh season, UNTV Cup has already donated a total of P50,250,000 cash prize to the beneficiaries of all the competing teams.

For the players from all the government agencies, it was never about the glory. They are prepared to give their all for their chosen charity.

“Punto for punto talagang masarap sa pakiramdam as a player na naglalaro, (As a player, each point feels fulfilling)”—Reneboy Banzali from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Furies

“Naglalaro ka na nakakatulong pa tayo sa mga beneficiary natin. So enjoy lang kami, makatulong, (We are helping our beneficiaries by playing. So we are just enjoying)“—Malacañang Head Coach Raffy Ginzalez

“Nagpapasalamat nga kami sa kanila lalo na kay Brother Eli. Sa pamamagitan niya ang daming natutulungan, pati na iyong team namin. So nagiging instrument kami makatulong din sa ibang tao, (We are thankful to Brother Eli. Through him, we are helping a lot even our team. So we also become instruments to help others)“—National Housing Authority (NHA) Builders Head Coach Benett Palad

“Kami po, kasama lahat ng players and of course kasama ang management ng PhilHealth ay patuloy na sumusuporta sa magandang adhikain ni Brother Eli and ni Kuya Daniel na hindi lang ma-showcase iyong mga talento ng ating mga public servants kundi makatulong din sa ating mga beneficiaries, (On behalf of all the players and, of course, the PhilHealth management, we will continue to support the good advocacy of Brother Eli and Kuya Daniel of not just showing the talents of our public servants but also to help our beneficiaries)“—Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) Plus Head Coach Delio Aseron II

UNTV Cup is also helping former professional basketball players through the PBA Legends Foundation.

For the 8th season of UNTV Cup, over P10 million is allotted for the beneficiaries of the 12 competing teams.—AAC (with reports from Bernard Dadis)

Sports and Public Service, the right mix for UNTV Cup Season 8

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 10, 2019

Despite the heavy rain, Michael de Guzman did not miss his chance to watch the opening of UNTV Cup Season 8 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Monday (September 9).

Not only was he excited to watch the first match between the AFP Cavaliers and the PITC Global Traders, he was able to reactivate his membership with Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHeath).

“Okay nga iyong pagkakataon na ito dahil na-enjoy ko na ang panonood, nakakuha pa ako ng kailangan ko sa Philhealth, (This is a good opportunity because I was able to enjoy the game and at the same time work on what I need from PhilHealth),” he said.

Different public service booths like the Social Security System (SSS), Pag-IBIG booth, and PhilHealth were available for everyone as part of the opening of UNTV Cup Season 8.

Meanwhile the whole family of basketball fan, Edgar Santiago, arrived at MOA around 3:00 p.m. which was four hours before the official opening of the series.

Edgar and his family have been supporting UNTV since season 1 and they never miss an opportunity to watch some of the games.

“Alam naman natin ang proceeds ay para sa mga soldiers, mga POW [prisoner of war], mga nasaktan, mga pamilya na hindi halos masuportahan ng ating gobyerno, (We know the proceeds will go to the soldiers, prisoners of war, injured individuals and families that our government can no longer support),” he said.

Fans never stopped cheering once the first match started.

“Ang saya-saya ng laban at tsaka ang galing-galing talaga ng AFP, (It’s really fun and the AFP is a good team)” according to one of AFP’s fans Whisky Villanueva.

Brother Eli Soriano and Kuya Daniel Razon are grateful to God and the fans for their full support.

“Ito po ay patuloy naming gingawa sa tulong ng mga Members of the Church of GOD International kaya natutuwa kami na nakakatulong kami one way or the other even without lifting a finger (We continue to do this with the help of the Members of the Church of GOD International so we are happy to help in one way or the other without lifting a finger),” according to Brother Eli.

“Ang satin lang po alam natin ang dahilan kung bakit tayo nandito, ang gusto natin una sa lahat ay makatulong sa ating mga kapuwa tao na nangangailangan, (We know why we are here. First of all, we want to help our fellowmen in need)” Kuya Daniel said.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Classic match: Alaska topples San Miguel in UNTV Cup PBA Legends face-off

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Fans went wild at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Monday (July 8) as the Milkmen served the Beermen their first taste of defeat at the conclusion of UNTV Cup Off PBA Legends off-season games.

Even the Legends themselves were amazed to feel their old aggressive self coming back to life just like the good old days as they hit the hardcourt.

“Believe it or not, iyong intensity noong nasa dulo (the intensity through the end of the game) it felt like the 90s again,” exclaimed Alaska’s Jojo “Mr. Clutchman” Lastimosa.

“So it was just like going back in time for the times. We were here 20 years ago, 25 years ago, the feeling was the same although a bit slower but the competition was there, the intensity was there,” he said.

“Sa totoo lang na-miss ko din talaga (Honestly, I missed [playing] so much),” said Kiko Adriano of San Miguel.

“The last time I played siguro 2008. Ito talaga ang ano ng player, iyong pride (This is the pride of a player) although medyo lack kami duon sa players pero up to the last na oras talagang laban pa rin (though we lack players but up to the last hour we continued fighting),” he said.

Basketball fans couldn’t sit still as they watch and shout to the breathtaking exchanges of double and triple shots, minute after minute of the game.

Indeed, a classic match they missed for decades.

Marlon Pangan is from a family of Ginebra die-hard fans. He made sure to witness the comeback of his idol Bal David into the hardcourt as he flaunted an old jersey of David like it was his ‘lucky charm.’

“Since 1994, inabutan ko talaga yung kalakasan nila (Since 1994, I’ve seen them when they were at the peak of their career) – Bal David, Marlo Aquino, Noli Locsin. Natutuwa ako kasi nandito kami. Hanggang ngayon, sinusuportahan pa rin namin mga games nila (I am happy that until now, we’re still here, supporting their games),” he said.

Alaska supporter Jeon Yantada goes all-out for his idol Willie “The Thriller” Miller.

“Parang bumagal na siya lumaki na pero yung tira niya sa labas parang (Stephen) Curry. Hindi naman nagbabago (He seemed to have slowed down a bit but his shots were like Stephen Curry’s. Nothing changed),” the Alaska die-hard fan said.

“Nanonood ako ng PBA kapag may San Miguel fight lang. Nag-cheer ako even pumusta ko sa kanila (I watch PBA only when San Miguel fights. I cheered for them and even placed a bet on them),” said Allan Bernales of his favorite team San Miguel.

It was an intense one hour inside the Big Dome as Alaska Aces hit the hardcourt with a vengeance against the strong San Miguel Beermen who defeated them in February during the Return of the Rivals benefit game with only seven points, 96-83.

The Beermen started strong in the first quarter, leading the ball game with two points, 21-19.

But the Milkmen was also up for the win and led the second quarter with a three-point advantage, 37-34, thanks to Willie “the Thriller” Miller’s 10 points contribution.

San Miguel again dominated the third quarter with an 8-point lead after Chris Calaguio fired four three-point shots, 60-52.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the “Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos displayed his ‘deadly crossover moves’, pushing Alaska closer to lead, 70-68.

There was non-stop intensity as John Ferriols added a free throw and Eddie Laure jumped for two.

The Milkmen finally scored ahead of the Beermen, 71-70 as both teams went neck and neck, scoring tied twice at 71 and 72.

At the final one minute and 42 seconds, the Beermen had the chance to win the game when Kiko Adriano stole the ball and attempted a shot but missed.

At 1:03, Miller fired a three-point shot but Allan Caidic couldn’t just watch so “the Triggerman” delivered his ‘shooting touch’ of three, bringing the score to a third tie at 75.

The last 46 seconds of the ball game brought out the best of both teams.

Abarrientos ended the showdown with a final lay up during the remaining 12 seconds, securing Alaska’s championship title, 77-75, while fans singing “Wala pa ring tatalo sa Alaska!” (Nothing can beat Alaska!)

Battle for 3rd: Ginebra vs. Purefoods

Crowd-favorite Ginebra and Purefoods battle for the third place prior to the championship game.

The Gin Kings toppled the Hotdogs in February during the Return of the Rivals benefit game, 97-89.

But it was a complete turn-around as the Hotdogs emerged victorious after defeating the Gin Kings and secured the third spot in the PBA Legends Face Off, 98-75.

Six players from Purefoods contributed double-digit scores – Roger Yap (20); Alvin Patrimonio (16); Tony Boy Espinosa (14); Glenn Capacio (13); Dwight Lago (10) and Jerry Codinera (10).

Meanwhile, leading Ginebra with high scores were Bennett Palad (16); Mike Orquillas (14); and Bal David (11).

The Legends have nothing but praises to the one-of-a-kind charity basketball game organized by UNTV president and CEO Kuya Daniel Razon in cooperation with the PBA Legends Foundation chaired by former Crispa star Atoy Co.

“Congratulations to everybody. Siyempre giving back to the fans din ito, (Of course, this is also giving back to the fans,)” exclaimed Alvin ‘the Captain’ Patrimonio.

“Natutuwa ako sa mga fans kasi grabe yung cheers nila sa amin (I’m amazed with the way the fans cheered for us, so lively),“ he said.

“Congratulations to UNTV for making this event possible. We were very, very thankful hindi lang doon sa mga Legends na naglalaro kundi sa purpose nito (not only to the Legends who played but for the purpose of this game) – to help the Legends,” thanked Purefoods Bong ‘The Raven’ Ravena.

“Aside for the win this is for all the fans. Makabalik man lang kami sa kanila kahit maliit na kasayahan. Malaking bagay sa amin iyon (To give back to them and to be able to make them happy, that means a lot to us),” he added.

“Sana tuloy-tuloy pa at marami pang (ganitong) event (I hope for more of this event in the future). Thank you and all the best. More power Kuya Daniel and sa UNTV,” concluded Ginebra’s Bal ‘The Flash’ David.

The host UNTV has given the four teams P2-M which they donated to the PBA Legends Foundation. – with details from Bernard Dadis

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