THE San Juan Knights bounced back, but the Manila Stars tumbled in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season on Tuesday at the Caloocan Sports Complex.
John Wilson showed the way as the Knights downed the Valenzuela Classic, 78-68, to tighten their grip on the top spot in the North division and regain the overall lead in the 31-team field with a 16-2 record.
Southern Division team Davao Occidental has a 15-2 record.
The depleted Stars bowed to the Caloocan Supremos, 65-72, and dropped to a share of second place with the Makati Super Crunch at 13-3.
Employing a tight defense, the Paranaque Patriots held the Binan City Laguna Heroes to six points in the fourth quarter for a 73-70 win to improve its record to 7-12.
Wilson fired a game-high 20, spiked by four triples, as the Knights pulled away at 50-33 and pulled down the Classic to a tie with the Patriots.
Even without five key players, who were with the other half of the Stars competing in the Mamee Cup Melaka International Basketball Championship in Malaysia, Manila took a 53-48 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Rene Pacquiao, however, went on a rampage, pouring in nine points in a decisive 15-point blast that swayed the balance for the Supremos, 63-53, with 3:56 left.
The 6-foot-5 Pacquiao wound up with 13 points, next only to homegrown Danny Marilao who scored 14, as the Supremos jumped to sixth place with an 11-8 slate.