UNTV Cup 2 tosses ‘jump ball’ of charity at the Big Dome

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Filipinos’ love for basketball is really undying. That is to the extent that survivors of a storm-hit village play ball on a flooded street. But this game, in the hands of UNTV CEO Daniel Razon, can transform into a long-term charitable giant.

UNTV Cup 2 Senate Defenders vs House of Representatives Solon

Senate Defenders team (black jersey) goes toe-to-toe with House of Representatives Solon (white) during UNTV Cup Season 2’s opening match last Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, at the jam-packed and crowded Big Dome. UNTV Cup 2 is a charity basketball league conceptualized by UNTV CEO Daniel Razon, with the support of MCGI presiding minister Bro. Eli Soriano. (Photo by Jeffrey Eugenio)

UNTV Cup, a basketball league for a cause, embodies this idea. Conceptualized by Razon under the mentorship of Members Church of God International (MCGI) presiding minister Eliseo Soriano, the league debuted in July 2013 and entered its second season last Tuesday, February 11, 2014, at Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

As described by preacher Soriano, also the host of the longest-running religious program, The Old Path, UNTV Cup is a selfless project likened to Christ’ deeds while He was on earth.

“Our primary model of inspiration – one who does good deeds not for Himself – is our Lord Jesus,” he said in vernacular during the league’s opening ceremony. “[Though] He needs nothing for Himself, He humbled himself. He worked and suffered not for Himself but for the others.”

Preacher Soriano, popularly know as Bro. Eli, refers to government agencies who geared up for UNTV Cup; that though most of them are plain employees, clerks, police officers, soldiers, traffic law enforcers and even elected officials like senators and congressmen, they jumped in the league and stretched their muscles all for the cause of charity.

On its first season, with some former pro players’ aid, eight government agencies participated in the league namely Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the combined Congress and local government units (Congress-LGU), Department of Justice (DOJ), Judiciary, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philhealth, and Philippine National Police (PNP). Judiciary bagged the first championship title with quake and war victims in Cebu, Bohol and Zamboanga as the team’s beneficiary.

Season 2 then entered additional teams – the Senate and Malacañan. The former Congress-LGU split into two to form ten squads this second season.

UNTV Cup 10 government agencies

Ten government agencies gear themselves up for UNTV Cup Season 2, a charity basketball league. They are the Judiciary Magis, DOJ Avengers, Malacañan Patriots, Senate Defenders, HOR Solons, LGU Vanguards, PNP Responders, Philhealth Advocates, AFP Cavaliers and MMDA Black Wolves. (Photo from UNTV Cup Facebook Page)

Razon, also known as Mr. Public Service, declared during the opening ceremony last Tuesday that every game day is people’s day.

“Every game day we have in UNTV Cup has an attached public service because we have opened  booths from ten participating agencies. That is why every game day is people’s day,” he explained. “You can go to the basketball game venue and see the booth of each team’s representatives. You can ask help for your problems and concerns.”

Examples of services offered, according to Razon, are issuance of membership IDs, attending to inquiries and many more.

Because of the first season’s success, league Commissioner Fortunato Co, Jr., better known as Atoy Co, expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support.

“I would like to thank all of our government agencies who joined in this game. With Asst. Commissioner Ed Cordero, we promise you a successful and fair league,” the “Fortune Cookie” commissioner uttered with excitement. “As early as now, we already set plans on what to do for Season 3. A lot of players from different government agencies want to join in and apply for UNTV Cup. That is how popular UNTV Cup is. This is my new game!”

UNTV Cup 2 opening audience

Amateur and pro players from ten government agencies parade before the Big Dome crowd during the opening ceremony of UNTV Cup Season 2 last Tuesday. UNTV Cup will have a weekly regular game at the Ynares Sports Complex starting this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. (Photo by Jeffrey Eugenio)

During the opening of Season 2, Senate Defenders topped the House of Representatives (HOR) Solons in the first match in a score of 83-74. “Capt. Marvel” Kenneth Duremdes went unstoppable with 36 points, eight assists and three steals making him the Player of the Game.

“The [inspiration] right here now is the crowd,” Duremdes said in a post-game interview. “That is why we’re enjoying the game. We gained our energy though we already past our prime. But, I don’t feel tired because of the crowd. I hope they are here not only in the opening game because that is a very big factor for all of us players, not only me.”

Kenneth "Capt. Marvel" Duremdes

Kenneth “Capt. Marvel” of team Senate is named the Player of the Game during the opening match in UNTV Cup Season 2 last Tuesday at the Big Dome. Together with Senator Sonny Angara and former PBA player Zaldy Realubit, Senate Defenders defeat the HOR Solons headed by Cong. Niel Tupas Jr. and ex-PBA star Arnold Gamboa. (Photo credit: Roy Cruz)

When asked how he describes Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel’s tandem, he said, “Actually, this is a hit! This is a very, very good project. I still remember my first appearance in the exhibition games with the legends, you can feel the support from the crowd, which means that Kuya Daniel and Bro. Eli administer well, well-organized and well-supported. Especially, you can now see that many government agencies are eager to join.”

UNTV Cup Season 2’s next and weekly regular game will be held at the Ynares Sports Complex, Pasig City starting on February 16 this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. with live telecast on UNTV 37 and live simulcast at http://www.untvweb.com.

About Jeffrey Eugenio

Jeffrey Eugenio is a writer, motion graphic designer, artist, video editor and entrepreneur. He is currently a member of WritersConnect International - Philippine chapter. He loves doing a lot of things especially one that drives his creative passion. He believes that using himself to the greater good of others gives purpose and meaning to his life. As of now, he self-studies film making believing that as time allows, there should always be a room for exploring possibilities of learning more.

Posted on February 14, 2014, in Advocacy, Calamity, Entertainment, Media, Politics, Public Service, Religion, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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