Argentina survives PH U17 squad’s late 3-point surge | Inquirer Sports

Argentina survives PH U17 squad’s late 3-point surge

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 02:12 AM August 16, 2014

DUBAI—Argentina, a global force in basketball, got itself into serious trouble before hurdling the Philippines, 84-71, in the classification phase of the Fiba U17 World Championship late Thursday night.

Just when the Argentinians were all set to pull away, Batang Gilas unloaded a deluge of three-pointers late in the final half that threatened to humiliate the South American superpower.

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“You can see the fighting heart of these boys and you can never question that,” said Batang Gilas coach Jamike Jarin.

Shooting guard Jollo Go knocked down five of the 10 threes by the Filipinos in a spirited comeback as they narrowed a 62-46 gap to a seven-point deficit in the closing minutes.

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During the three-point binge, Mike dela Cruz and Paul Desiderio swished two threes each, before Mike Nieto capped the run with a rare triple of his own.

“I was in tears after the game. Seeing them play like that; as their father figure, you can’t ask for anything else,” said Jarin. “It was a joy seeing them fight.”

While it brought tears of joy to Jarin, the late surge scared the hell out of the Argentinians, who led for most of the match but had to lean on the free throws of power forward Jeffrey Merchant and Agustin Mas Delfino to seal the outcome.

Batang Gilas is hoping to defeat Egypt on Friday evening to avoid winding up 15th or 16th.

Jolo Mendoza, the biggest offensive threat on the Philippine side, sat on the bench all game long after pulling his hamstring in the round of 16 against France.

“When we were told that Jolo wouldn’t be playing, somebody had to step up and I was very thankful to hit all those shots,” said Go, who had six threes and finished with 27 points.

Dela Cruz also had his share of the heroism, hitting four threes for 14 points for the Filipinos, who restrained the Argentinians from controlling the paint.

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The scores:

ARGENTINA 84—Mas Delfino 20, Carvalho 16, Merchant 14, Delfino 10, Zurbriggen 7, Fernandez 6, Aliende 3, Riego 2, Fjellerup 2, Gallardo 2, Borsatti 2, Onetto 0.

PHILIPPINES 71—Go 27, Dela Cruz 14, Mi. Nieto 11, Desiderio 10, Ma. Nieto 7, Navarro 2, Dario 0, Padilla 0, Abadeza 0, Escoto 0.

Quarters: 22-14, 35-27, 62-46, 84-71

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TAGS: Argentina, Dela Cruz, Gilas Pilipinas, Philippines
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