Energen PH spurns Bahrain, sets QF date with KoreaBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Energen Pilipinas under-18 team mounted a huge comeback to hack out a 99-72 triumph over Bahrain at the end of the second round of the 22nd Fiba Asia U18 Championship yesterday in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Jay Alejandro and Jerie Pingoy fueled a second-half binge as the Philippines outscored Bahrain, 38-15, in the third quarter to take a 73-61 advantage after trailing by as many as 14 points, 32-46.
“That was a big second half,” said national youth coach Olsen Racela. “Down by 11 at the half, we came back and won by 27. That’s a 38-point turnaround. Now if we can play that way for the whole game in the quarters, we’ll have a chance.”
The Philippines wound up tied with Iran and Chinese Taipei at 4-1 at the end of Group F action at Buyant-Ukhaa Arena.
But the tiebreak relegated the Philippines to third, sending the young Nationals against powerhouse Korea in the knockout quarterfinals on Friday.
The Philippines had a shot at clinching a higher seeding, but Chinese Taipei shocked the erstwhile unbeaten Iran in overtime, 78-77, in the other game.
Alejandro unloaded 23 points, including three straight triples at the start of the fourth period that stretched the Philippines’ lead to 82-68.
Pingoy, the reigning UAAP juniors MVP, also fired 19 markers built on a 9-of-12 clip from the field aside from posting three assists and three steals.
Hubert Cani carried the Energen squad early, drilling all but two of his 11 points in the first half.
NCAA juniors MVP Rey Nambatac also delivered 11 points and eight rebounds.
The other quarterfinal pairings pit defending champion China, the only unbeaten squad in the tournament, against Saudi Arabia, Iran against Syria and Chinese Taipei against Lebanon.
PHILIPPINES 99—Alejandro 23, Pingoy 19, Cani 11, Nambatac 11, Suarez 8, Porter 7, Javelosa 6, Lao 5, Babilonia 4, Olayon 3, Rivero 2.
BAHRAIN 72—Shukralla 32, Buallay 16, Melad 7, Naser 7, Abul 6, Ali Sayed 4, Abdulrasool 0, Abdulredha 0.
Quarters: 13-22, 35-46, 73-61, 99-72