Powerhouse Iran rips Energen PH Youth quintBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ALREADY assured of a place in the next round, the Energen Pilipinas five absorbed a 93-72 loss to powerhouse Iran yesterday in the 22nd Fiba Asia Under-18 Championship at Buyant-Ukhaa Arena in Mongolia.
The towering Iran squad completed a three-game sweep of Group D in the preliminary round with the Filipinos advancing by placing second with a 2-1 record.
Forward Vahid Dalirzahan fired 21 points and 6-foot-8 center Hossein Rahmati had 20 markers and 14 rebounds for the two-time champion Iranians.
“Against a team like Iran, we can’t give up 24 offensive rebounds and turn the ball over 26 times,” said national youth coach Olsen Racela. “It was a learning experience for the coaches as well. Iran is a strong and tall team and one of the top three teams in Asia.”
Jay Alejandro paced the Filipinos with 12 points and five rebounds, while fellow under-16 holdover Hubert Cani had 11 markers.
The Philippines opened its campaign with a 95-52 rout of Saudi Arabia last Friday, then overpowered 2008 runner-up Kazakhstan, 83-69, the next day to secure its place in the next round.
Defending champion China and last edition’s runner-up Korea completed a 3-0 sweep of their respective groups to lead the 12 teams advancing to the next round.
China trounced Lebanon, 96-74, to top Group A, while Korea blasted Singapore, 110-32, in Group B.
IRAN 93—Dalirzahan 21, Rahmati 20, Mashayekhi 16, Foroutan Nik 14, Yakchalidehkordi 10, Beigi Arbatsofla 5, Bagheri Koudakani 3, Yazdanpanah Gabrani 2, Yousof Vand 2, Najafikharaji 0.
PHILIPPINES 72—Alejandro 12, Cani 11, Suarez 10, Pingoy 9, Porter 8, Nambatac 5, Javelosa 4, Babilonia 4, Bonleon 4, Lao 3, Rivero 2, Olayon 0.
Quarters: 22-17, 42-33, 65-48, 93-72