Pilipinas U-18 routs KazakhstanBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MARIO Bonleon and Jay Alejandro fueled a huge fourth-quarter run as the Energen Pilipinas under-18 team blasted Kazakhstan, 83-69, for its second straight win in the 22nd Fiba Asia U18 Championship yesterday in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Bonleon knocked in 20 points and skipper Alejandro collected 18 markers, six rebounds and three assists to lead the Philippines on top of Group D in the preliminary round at Buyant-Ukhaa Arena.
With the victory, the Philippines virtually earned a slot to the next round of the 16-nation tournament. Only the top three teams in each group will advance to the next round.
The Philippines, who trailed at 19-26 in the first quarter, had a tougher time against the 2008 runner-up Kazakhs a day after coasting to a 95-52 triumph over Saudi Arabia.
“We struggled against their zone, but the boys kept on fighting,” national youth coach Olsen Racela told the Inquirer. “Slight improvement from our game [against Saudi], but we need to do better [versus Iran today].”
Kyle Suarez, who topscored with 15 against Saudi Arabia, added 14 markers while Hubert Cani made 10.
The Philippines guns for a sweep of its preliminary games against two-time champion Iran at 4 p.m. today.
Defending champion China improved to 2-0 after blasting India, 119-54, while Lebanon also stayed perfect at 2-0 by routing Hong Kong, 113-70, in Group A.
PHILIPPINES 83—Bonleon 20, Alejandro 18, Suarez 14, Cani 10, Pingoy 4, Rivero 4, Porter 4, Babilonia 3, Nambatac 2, Olayon 2, Lao 2, Javelosa 0.
KAZAKHSTAN 69—Kurochka 22, Maxutov 22, Marchuk 14, Zhumabek 5, Nalogov 3, Kadtsin 2, Nurkhanov 1, Toktarov 0, Agarychev 0, Tulepbergenov 0, Korotkiy 0.
Quarters: 18-18, 38-30, 55-52, 83-69