Defending champion Armed Forces of the Philippines chalked up its second straight win while former PBA player Henry Fernandez led Department of Agriculture to an impressive debut in the 8th UNTV Cup held over the weekend at the Pasig City Sports Center.
The AFP Cavaliers banked on a fiery start to beat the PhilHealth Plus, 91-80, while Fernandez, who played for Purefoods (now Magnolia) in the pro league before, scattered 24 points in leading the DA Food Masters to a 78-73 win over the Ombudsman Graft Busters in Group I elims.
Fernandez was ably supported by former UST star Emerson Oreta and rookie Julius Saysayan who chipped in 20 and 11 points, respectively.
Malacañang-Philippine Sports Commission also debuted on winning note by downing two-time champion Judiciary, 64-60, in the lone Group II match of the event organized by UNTV president and CEO Daniel Razon for public servants.
With Willy Casulla imposing his will in the shaded lane, the Cavaliers stormed to a 27-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
Casulla led five AFP players with 9 points or more as he produced another double-double of 15 points and 22 boards while Dave Cordero added 13 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Former amateur hotshot Eric dela Cuesta rallied Malacañang-PSC from a huge 22-point deficit in the third by helping the Kamao outscore the Magis, 33-7, in the payoff period to snatch the win.