LA SALLE and Ateneo seized 1-2 position on the table after prevailing over separate foes on Thursday in the UAAP Season 77 football tournament at the FEU-Diliman pitch.
Christian Zubiri netted a goal from a Nate Alquiros assist in the 10th minute as the Green Booters frustrated University of Santo Tomas, 1-0, while the Blue Eagles topped University of the East, 1-0, with Mikko Mabanag scoring from long range in the 19th minute.
La Salle took the top spot with 19 points, a point clear of Ateneo, while University of the Philippines is running third with 17 points.
In their second meeting in seven days, it was a testy encounter as both the Green Booters and the Growling Tigers went down to 10 men.
La Salle's Jhoguev Ybanez was sent off in the sixth minute for punching a UST defender, while Tigers skipper Gino Clarino was dismissed in the 62th minute for his second yellow card of the game.
"We were lucky for that early goal by Zubiri," said La Salle assistant mentor Alvin Ocampo, filling in for head coach Hans Smit who had a pressing commitment off the pitch.
Up next for the Green Booters is a match with the Blue Eagles on Sunday.
"We have to maintain our spot in the Top 2," said Ocampo.
With its bid for a return to the Final Four slowly slipping away, UST remained in sixth place at nine points, five points behind joint fourth placers Far Eastern University and National University, who both have 14 points.
The Red Warriors are virtually out of the running in the semifinals race as they stayed in seventh with four points.