Bacoor—Davao Occidental clinched top spot in the South division while Manila kept its bid for No. 1 in the North following victories on Monday in the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season elimination round at Strike Gymnasium here.
The Davao Tigers, drawing double-double outputs from Mark Yee and Billy Robles, thwarted the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, 86-79, and booked the premier seat to the 8-team playoffs starting on February 15.d 2 ste
Yee posted 16 points and 11 rebounds while Robles tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Cocolife-backed Tigers, who climbed to 24-4 and moved beyond reach of the Strikers (23-6).
The Manila Stars erected a 19-pointy spread in the third quarter and used it as buffer to frustrate the Bacoor Strikers, 78-74, at their home court and threaten the San Juan Knights for pole position in the 16-team North division.
Aris Dionisio led the Frontrow-supported Stars with 22 points and 6 rebounds, followed by Carlo Lastimosa with 17, and 5 and Christopher Bitoon with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals as they rose to 24-5 and closed in on the 24-4 Knights.
If any consolation, the Strikers missed the services of MPBL Datu Cup MVP Gab Banal, who opted not to play after arriving from Dubai with the victorious Mighty Sports team earlier.
Bacoor, which saw its eight-game run broken, got 15 points from RJ Ramirez and 10 each from Mark Pangilinan and Christopher Sumalinog.
Fighting for life, Cebu Casino Ethyl Alcohol trampled over the Bataan Risers, 75-65.
Ahead by as many as 19 points, 70-51, the Cebuanos leveled their slate at 14-14, staying in the 3-team chase for the eighth and last playoff spot in the 15-team South division.
Towing the Cebuanos in the 3-cornered race are the General Santos Warriors and the Batangas City Athletics, both at 16-11.
The MPBL goes to Cuneta Astrodome on Tuesday with Caloocan hoping to stun San Juan in the 4 p.m. opener. Batangas tangles with Bacolod at 6:30 p.m. while Mindoro and Pasay collide at 8:30 p.m.