What to Expect from UNTV Cup Season 5
The fifth season of UNTV Cup opening ceremony begins 7pm today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City and will be heavy on many historical firsts and charity.
Senators Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Joel “Tesdaman” Villanueva joining the Senate Defenders, and the addition of Bureau of Customs being the 13th team playing for the charity basketball league UNTV Cup are just some of the highlights this season.
Conceptualized by Mr. Public Service Kuya Daniel Razon, the Chairman and CEO of UNTV-Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International (BMPI), UNTV Cup is dubbed as the first-ever charity basketball league in the country.
Since its first season opened in 2013 – packed with four seasons and one off-season games – the league with the slogan, “Ang Liga ng Public Servants,” has already doled out over P20 million worth of cash prizes and donation.
This season, UNTV Cup organizers have announced that more than P9 million worth of cash and donation will be given to charity. The list of each playing team’s chosen charities will be announced during the opening ceremony that will be witnessed by up to 15,000 attendees at the venue.
PBA Hall of Famer Kenneth Duremdes, the coach of the Customs dubbed as the “Transformers” will try to make a splash in the league as they face 12 other teams during the basketball tournament.
Last season’s defending champion Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and UNTV Cup Season 4 runner-up Philippine National Police (PNP) Responders will slug it out with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Furies, Ombudsman Graft Busters, Department of Justice (DOJ) Justice Boosters, House of Representatives (HOR) Solons, and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Firefighters.
The other agencies playing include the Senate of the Philippines Defenders, two-time league champion Judiciary Magis, last season’s semifinalists National Housing Authority (NHA) Builders and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Blackwolves and Malacañan Kamao.
Senate’s Big Three
Moreover, joining senator Angara, who played for the Adamson University Falcons during his college days, are eight-time division boxing champ and now senator Pacquiao and former University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers and Malacañan Kamao player Senator Joel Villanueva.
“I am excited to play side by side with Senators Angara and Villanueva and our goal is to get the UNTV Cup championship”, said Pacquiao, who has been practicing with the team twice a week for over a month now.
Also with the team are Senators Bam Aquino and Win Gatchalian while Senate Minority leader Ralph Recto will be playing as their team manager.
Aside from the game, UNTV’s public service booth, a one-stop-shop action center hosted by the participating government agencies will be available inside the venue for the basketball fans.
PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who earlier expressed his willingness to play for PNP Responders during his July 20 guesting in Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, is one of the high-ranking officials expected to grace the event.
Ballad King Jed Madela and R&B Soul JayR are expected to perform during the opening ceremonies alongside BMPI dancers. Stand-up comedians AJ and Le Chazz were invited to light up the mood before the intense chase for the title.
Teams Acquire Reinforcements
Each team are boosted by former UAAP, NCAA and PBA, local and international Filipino players.
BOC Transformers are bannered by Marlou “The Skyscraper” Aquino from the now-defunct Sta. Lucia Realtors and Ronjar Enrile from the Powerade Tigers while the BFP Firefighters found a reinforcement through former Barangay Ginebra player Gilbert Malabanan.
Former FEU Tamaraws standout Rysal Castro will lead the campaign for the Ombudsman Graft Busters while college standouts Harley Ng, Sam Marata, Rommel Balboa, Ervic Basal will boost the roster of the Senate Defenders.
The defending champions AFP Cavaliers will still be led by last season’s finals MVP, Boyet Bautista, who was also a former Letran Knights standout while former Globalport Batang Pier Coach Johnedel Cardel will serve as point guard for the MMDA Blackwolves.
Harold Sta. Cruz, a former RDAK-Mandaue Cebu Landmasters player and two-time MVP Ollan “The Sniper” Omiping will banner last-season’s runner-up PNP Responders while Season 4 MVP Antonio Lustestica will lead NHA Builders’ campaign.
Duterte’s Executive Assistant Christopher Bong Go, Manny Pacquiao (MP) Warriors player Norberto Farochilen, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, former PBA player Edward “Poch” Juinio, Misamis Oriental Meteors standout Arden Guiyab of the Liga Pilipinas, the third-tier community league (after the PBA and PBL), San Beda Red Lions standout Jenkins Mesina, former Alaska Aces Eric Dela Cuesta are all part of the roster of the Malacañan Kamao.
Chester Tolomia, former cager from Brgy. Ginebra, Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, former now-defunct Reb Bull Barako player Celedon “Don” Camaso, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, former Alaska player Ariel Capus, and former Coca-cola guard Warren Ybañez will represent the Season 3 champion Judiciary Magis.
Philippine Patriots cager Egay Billiones of the ASEAN Basketball League, 1-Pacman Partylist and Globalport Batang Pier team owner Mikee Romero, San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora, Camarines Sur congressman LRay Villafuerte, former Sta. Lucia Realtor Francis “Kiko” Adriano, Pacquiao’s brother Rogelio “Ruel” Pacquiao, Pasig City congressman Roman Romulo, the husband of celebrity Shalani Soledad will complete the cast for the HOR Solons.
Written by: John Kenneth Jaramilla