After an upset loss from the rookie team DENR Warriors in the Season 8 finals series, the multi-season champion AFP Cavaliers assured their fans, supporters and beneficiary that they will get back on their feet to get the UNTV Cup title next season.
During the elimination rounds and semifinals, the powerhouse team only lost against 2 teams: the Judiciary Magis and DENR Warriors. During the elimination round, Jeffrey Quiambao, Winston Sergio, Boyet Bautista and Eugene Tan were all nursing injuries.
Moreover, the Championship round left AFP Cavaliers even more vulnerable with the motorcycle accident of power forward Wilfredo Casulla and the back injury of center Ezer Rosopa.
Wilfred Casulla is a dominant force on both ends of the court, offensively and defensively. With his ability to rebound and score, his presence contributes significantly to the AFP’s winning formula in all its crucial games. On his way to the second game against the Judiciary Magis on the semifinals, he encountered a motorcycle accident which broke his left clavicle or collar bone.
On the other hand, Cavaliers’ big man Ezer Rosopa, who stepped up in the semifinals and the Game 1 of the final round, got injured during their practice for Game 2.
Nonetheless, the Cavaliers suited up and gave their all in the jam packed Araneta Coliseum on March 9, 2020.
“Yun yung adversity ng team, injuries. We have to live on that. Kung ano yung meron ako yun yung pinilit kong mangyari na gawin. It happens na kinapos talaga, hindi kaya… Next year we’re going to be back,” AFP Cavaliers Head Coach Corporal Cornelio “Sonny” Manucat III said.
Coach Sonny, being a veteran sportsman, respects the accomplishment of their rival.
“I have to give credit to DENR Warriors. They deserve the win… They are the better team right now.”
Despite failing to defend their crown, the AFP basketball team was still able to donate a hefty amount of 2-Million Pesos tax-free prize money, for their chosen beneficiary, the AFP Educational Benefit System Office, the institution that grants scholarship to the dependents of the fallen heroes.
“Pasensya na hindi natin nakuha yung championship pero at least kahit papaano meron pa rin naman kaming maitutulong. Hopefully, the next time, makabawi na tayo.”
Coach Sonny Manucat, remain very grateful and optimistic as he looks forward to another big battle ahead, “Sa UNTV family, thank you sa opportunity ulet. Malaking bagay na rin po ito sa beneficiaries namin ito. Sa AFP community, maraming salamat sa support. Kay Kuya Daniel, maraming salamat po ulet. We’re going to be back next year for good.”