Fiba Asia U16: Japan denies Philippines bronze with vengeful victory
NHA TRANG, Vietnam—The bronze that could have eased the heartache also slipped away.
Just a day after the Energen Pilipinas Under-16 team missed its chance for a world berth, hot-shooting Japan also denied the Philippines a podium finish, 94-81, in the battle for third place Friday in the Fiba Asia U16 tournament.
The young Nationals found their rhythm in the fourth quarter but the lead was just too big to overhaul as Japan surged ahead early behind shooter Daiki Kaneko’s eight triples at the Khanh Hoa Sports Center here.
“I’m still proud of the way our boys played, especially in the fourth quarter,” said national youth coach Olsen Racela.
“We started the tournament in attack mode. We ended it still attacking even if we lost. They never gave up.”
The painful setback came just a day after South Korea dashed the Philippines’ hopes of crashing the world tournament with a 67-58 decision in the semifinals.
Although the twin heartbreaks ended the Philippine bid that took off to a promising 6-0 start, this youth squad matched the record fourth-place finish set by the under-16 team led by Kiefer Ravena in 2009 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
“Overall, we did a good job,” Racela said of his team, which pulled off the feat minus four key players who weren’t released by their schools.
China capped its dominating sweep with a second straight crown after drubbing South Korea, 92-52, in yesterday’s title match.
Both finalists will represent Asia in the 2012 Fiba U17 World Championship set July 17 to 26 in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Hubert Cani pumped in 11 of his 16 points in the last six minutes as the Philippines closed to within eight against Japan, 77-85, after trailing by as many as 23, 42-65, early in the fourth quarter.
Kyles Lao also finished with 16 and Jay Alejandro also buried all but two of his 14 points in the final period.
Kaneko and Keita Shinkawa fueled a 17-2 run that gave the Japan a 20-point cushion, 62-42, by the end of the third quarter.
“They were the players who couldn’t shoot in our first game, but they kept hitting this time,” said Racela after Japan avenged its 83-72 setback against the Philippines in the second round.
Kaneko shot 24 of his game-high 25 points from beyond the arc, while Yusei Sugiura had 21.
JAPAN 94—Kaneko 25, Sugiura 21, Baba 17, Shinkawa 16, Aoki 7, Shirato 6, Chikui 2, Miyamoto 0, Yamamoto 0 .
PHILIPPINES 81—Cani 16, Lao 16, Alejandro 14, Rivero 10, Diputado 8, Heading 7, Asilum 6, Ramos 4, Javelosa 0, Go 0, Caracut 0, Dalafu 0.
Quarters: 11-16, 32-31, 62-42, 94-81
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