MANILA – The University of the Philippines (UP) scored its fifth straight win in the UAAP men's basketball event after taking down La Salle, 61-59, on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Despite an error-prone performance, the Fighting Maroons moved up to the solo second spot with the victory while dropping the Green Archers to third.
La Salle turned to its patented Pumaren style of defense and was on the verge of breaking away after holding UP to just one field goal in a six-minute span in the third and the fourth quarter while taking a 52-45 lead early in the fourth.
The Maroons, however, unleashed a 14-4 run midway through the fourth to take a 59-56 advantage with 3:27 to play.
The game remained tight the rest of the way, but UP escaped after La Salle's Michael Phillips missed a buzzer-beating layup that could have forced overtime.
Zav Lucero powered the Fighting Maroons, now at 5-1, with 21 points highlighted by a two-handed dunk and a clutch triple that highlighted their game-turning rally.
He too had 14 rebounds, one assist, two steals, and one block.
Carl Tamayo and CJ Cansino each added nine points.
Balti Baltazar and Evan Nelle each put up 13 markers for the Archers, who fell to 4-2. (PNA)