Defending champion De La Salle University escaped Far Eastern University (FEU) 75-73 to seize the solo second spot with a 6-2 win-loss card.
The Green Archers needed a crucial stop in the Tamaraws’ final play with 2.2 ticks left to preserve the victory and hand FEU its second straight loss to tie UP in the standings with a 4-4 slate.
Ricci Rivero led all scorers with 20 points but committed a booboo in the end game when he intentionally missed the second free throw that gave FEU another shot of tying or winning the game.
But Ron Dennison’s inbound pass for Prince Orizu inside the shaded lane was stolen by Andrei Caracut and La Salle bounced back from a heart-breaking loss to Ateneo.
Ben Mbala added 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Green Archers but he shot 5-of-16 from the field.
Ken Tuffin led the Tams with 14 points while Hubert Cani added 13 but had a crucial turnover late in the game.
DLSU (75) – Rivero R. 20, Mbala 18, Go 14, Rivero P. 8, Caracut 7, Santillan 3, Tratter 3, Montalbo 2, Gonzales 0, Paraiso 0.
FEU (73) – Tuffin 14, Cani 13, Dennison 10, Parker 9, Eboña 8. Escoto 7, Orizu 7, Iñigo 3, Ramirez 2, Stockton 0, Trinidad 0, Comboy 0.
Quarterscores: 18-13, 39-35, 62-56, 75-73