RP U-18 stuns Taiwan, gains q’finals
Philippine Daily Inquirer
DELIVERING a gutsy endgame performance, the Energen Pilipinas under-18 team stunned Chinese Taipei, 88-83, to clinch a quarterfinal berth in the 22nd Fiba Asia U18 Championship Tuesday in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Jerie Pingoy knocked in a game-high 25 points, including a key three-point play that gave the Philippines an 86-82 edge going into the final 46 seconds.
Jay Alejandro also fired 22 points, the last two on insurance free throws with just 18 ticks left as the Philippines dealt Chinese Taipei its first loss.
“The players followed the game plan to the letter,” said national youth coach Olsen Racela. “They sustained the playing level throughout the game. We were down with two minutes left but they never gave up.”
The Philippines tied its victim at 3-1 behind unbeaten Iran (4-0) in Group F of second-round action at Buyant-Ukhaa Arena.
Rey Nambatac, who chipped in 10 points, gave the Philippines an 83-82 lead with 71 seconds remaining in the Filipinos’ win over the Taiwanese, second runner-up in the last edition.
Chinese Taipei represented Asia in the 2011 Fiba World U19 along with defending champion China and runner-up South Korea.
“My hats off to my coaching staff for a very good game plan,” said Racela, who gave credit to assistants Nash Racela, Richie Ticzon and Eric Gonzales.
Pingoy, the reigning UAAP juniors MVP, also dished out five assists, while Alejandro grabbed nine rebounds.
The Nationals bucked the absence of forward Marion Bonleon, one of the team’s most consistent performers, who sat out the game due to an ankle injury.
“Our players were too nervous and gave the game away,” Taipei coach Yang I-feng told Fiba Asia online.
The Philippines aims to wrap up its second-round campaign with another victory over Bahrain at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Only the top four teams in each group will advance to the knockout quarterfinal round.
The Philippines whipped Indonesia, 88-62, at the start of the second round Monday after finishing second, 2-1, in Group D of the preliminaries.
Its lone loss came against two-time champion Iran, 72-93, Sunday following big victories over Saudi Arabia (95-52) and Kazakhstan (83-69). Jasmine W. Payo
PHILIPPINES 88—Pingoy 25, Alejandro 22, Nambatac 10, Javelosa 6, Suarez 6, Cani 5, Olayon 5, Rivero 5, Babilonia 2, Porter 2, Lao 0.
CHINESE TAIPEI 83—Lin 25, Fan 16, Li 16, H. Huang 9, Chiu 6, Lee 6, Wu 3, Lu 2, Cheng 0, Chin 0, T. Huang 0.
Quarters: 17-14, 43-34, 63-64, 88-83