The Marikina Shoemasters fended off the Sarangani Marlins' comeback in the fourth quarter for a 99-95 victory in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League-Lakan Cup at Marikina Sports Center Friday night.
Atong Ular fired 24 points including a crucial follow-up jam in the final 20 seconds that prevented the Marlins from completing their rally.
Ular also had 14 rebounds.
Yves Sazon and Daryl Pascual combined for 25 points to end Marikina's 2-game skid for a 7-21 record.
Sarangani, led by Pari Llagas' 20 points, nearly toppled Marikina by unfurling a 15-0 run that allowed them to pull to within 96-95 with more than a minute remaining.
But Ular came out of nowhere and slammed the ball back off Von Tambeling's miss to halt the Marlin's run.
Sarangani fell to a 1-28 record.
Meanwhile, Bacolod-Master's Sardines pulled off an upset against playoff-bound Bulacan 76-69.
Up by just 2 points, Jess Villahermosa and Simon Camacho orchestrated a 6-2 blast to give Bacolod a comfortable 7-point cushion, 74-67, with 1:02 left in the game.
Camacho then fished a foul from Lyle Antipuesto, putting the game out of reach with two free throws with 14 ticks remaining.
"Maganda naman talaga ang potential ng team na 'to, it was just built late tapos along the way there were hurdles but let's see next season," said Bacolod head coach Vic Ycasiano on his team's upset of Bulacan.
Villahermosa led the assault with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting combined with 3 assists and 2 rebounds.
In the other game, Basilan-Jumbo Plastic finished its elimination round campaign on a high note, handing Parañaque-Yabo Sports an 89-71 beating.
Gab Dagangon scored 26 points on 10-of-20 field goal shooting along with 5 rebounds and 2 assists to help the Steel lock up the third seed in the Southern Division with a 20-10 standing.
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