De La Salle University stayed undefeated after a 75-65 triumph over Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 84 men's basketball tournament, Thursday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Justine Baltazar and fellow senior Kurt Lojera steadied the ship for the Green Archers when things got testy late.
With the Tamaraws just within one after a Ximone Sandagon dunk, 61-62, the Green Archers replied with a 9-0 spurt courtesy of Baltazar and Lojera, 71-61 with 3:10 left on the clock.
Though Brandrey Bienes was able to convert a deuce on the other end, Baltazar and Lojera had all the answers to secure the victory -- their third in as many games.
"Hopefully we can use this as a springboard when we face Ateneo," said La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren as they next face defending champions Blue Eagles on Saturday at 7:00PM. "We just have to get back to the drawing board to know what to do against Ateneo.
Baltazar finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, and a block while Lojera got 10 points.
Mark Nonoy waxed hot from behind the arc, making 5-of-8 triples to net 17 points, while Michael Phillips provided the energy with six points and 16 rebounds.
DLSU joined Ateneo atop the standings at 3-0, while FEU slid to 1-2 for joint fifth with Adamson.
L-Jay Gonzales paced the Tamaraws with 17 points, four rebounds, four steals, and three assists against four turnovers.
Big man Emman Ojuola got 13 points, only two in the second half, and 12 rebounds. RJ Abarrientos was limited to 1-of-7 from the field to get just nine points.
FEU will open Saturday's four-game slate with a clash against National University at 10 am.
DLSU 75 - Baltazar 20, Nonoy 17, Lojera 10, Winston 9, Austria 9, Phillips M. 6, Nelle 4, Manuel 0, Nwankwo 0, Phillips B. 0.
FEU 65 - Gonzales 17, Ojuola 13, Abarrientos 9, Bienes 9, Sajonia 6, Torres 5, Sandagon 4, Li 2, Alforque 0, Sleat 0, Gravera 0, Coquia 0.
Quarterscores: 19-18, 32-32, 58-50, 75-65.
(Dennis Lachica, Sportsmanila Photojournalist)