Davao Occidental continued its streak in the MPBL Datu Cup but not before grinding it out against Laguna even as San Juan got back on the winning track late Saturday at the Marist School Gymnasium in Marikina.
The Cocolife-supported Tigers fought back from 22 points down in the third period before turning the tables on the Krah-backed Heroes, 72-66, for their sixth win in a row.
Davao Occidental improved its win-loss record to 8-3 for solo second spot in the southern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
Laguna saw its four-game winning run snapped as it fell to 6-5.
Ex-pro Leo Najorda played his best game of the season as the multiple PBA champion finished with 25 points, including two triples.
He had five of his team’s last seven points and his jumper with 22 seconds left gave Davao Occidental a 67-66 lead.
In the second game, San Juan spoiled a breakout performance from Gerald Anderson, who came away with 11 points, but the Knights still went on to win convincingly over the celebrity baller’s squad, Marikina, 77-65.
The Knights, backed by Go-For-Gold, improved their record to 9-2, tied with Manila in second to third places of the northern division.
Mike Ayonayon led the way for the Knights with 16 markers while John Wilson and Larry Rodriguez had a double-double showing to help San Juan get back on the winning track.
Wilson contributed 10 points and 12 boards while Rodriguez had 10 markers to go along with 10 rebounds.