Santillan's late heroics deny Lyceum as La Salle books return to Filoil Cup finals
La Salle slotman Ben Mbala powers his way inside against Lyceum. Dante Peralta

SANTI Santillan completed a three-point play in a wild finish as De La Salle escaped with a 100-99 victory over hard-fighting Lyceum on Friday to clinch a finals spot in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup.

Santillan's heroics saved the day for La Salle as LPU stood on the verge of pulling off an upset over the reigning champions, leading by two points, 99-97, with 10 seconds left and the ball in its hands.

However, La Salle's Ricci Rivero intercepted a pass by Jasper Ayaay and passed the ball to Andre Caracut who, it turn, dished off to Santillan for the game-tying layup.

Santillan then converted the bonus free throw off Ayaay's foul for the marginal point. LPU came up empty in the game's final play when Reymark Caduyac threw an errant drop pass to Mike Nzeusseu.

Aljun Melecio topscored for with 30 points for the Green Archers, who averted an all-NCAA final by arranging a title clash against unbeaten San Beda on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Ricci Rivero added 27 points, while Ben Mbala had 26 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.

LPU trailed by eight points in the fourth only to tie the game at 97 on a three-point play by Nzeusseu. The Pirates even took the lead on a lay-up by Caduyac with 35.7 seconds to play, 99-97.

CJ Perez had 24 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and six steals for the Pirates, who will take on Jose Rizal University in the battle for third place.

The scores:

La Salle 100 - Melecio 30, R. Rivero 27, Mbala 26, Santillan 9, Caracut 4, Baltazar 2, Tero 2, Go 0, Tratter 0.

LYCEUM 99 - Perez 24, Baltazar 19, Tansingco 15, Ayaay 13, Nzeusseu 7, Caduyac 6, JC Marcelino 5, Pretta 5, JV Marcelino 4, Ibanez 1, Liwag 0, Cinco 0.

Quarterscores: 23-15, 45-47, 77-73, 100-99.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports