Energen-PH five downs Lebanon five, eyes fifth
HOPING to achieve some measure of pride, the Energen Pilipinas under-18 team stayed in the running for fifth place after downing Lebanon, 80-69, in the 22nd Fiba Asia Under-18 Championship yesterday in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Mario Bonleon, who sat out for three games due to an ankle injury, came back strong with a game-high 19 points to lead the young Nationals in the consolation round at Buyant-Ukhaa Arena.
With the victory, the Philippines arranged a duel for the fifth spot against Chinese Taipei today.
“I knew it was going to be a struggle against Lebanon coming from a loss in the quarters, but the boys played through it, ” said national youth coach Olsen Racela.
The Philippines bid goodbye to its hopes of crashing into the Fiba Worlds after bowing to Korea, 90-77, in the quarterfinals on Friday night.
Korea joined defending champion China, Japan and Iran in the Final Four, where the top three finishers will represent Asia in the Fiba U-19 World Championship set in the Czech Republic next year.
The Filipinos aim to pull off another shock win over the Taiwanese to match the country’s fifth-place finish in the tournament’s last edition in 2010 in Sana’a, Yemen.
Early this week, the Philippines dealt Chinese Taipei its first loss in the tournament, 88-83, in the second round of action.
Rey Nambatac had 12 points for the Philippines, while skipper Jay Alejandro added 10 markers, four rebounds and six assists.
PHILIPPINES 80–Bonleon 19, Nambatac 12, Alejandro 10, Suarez 9, Babilonia 8, Pingoy 8, Rivero 8, Porter 4, Cani 2, Lao 0.
LEBANON 69–Salem 18, Hadidian 15, Arakji 14, Mezher 8, El Ali 5, Assi 3, Nemer 3, Chamoun 2, Al Agha 1, Choueiry 0, Tabaja 0.
Quarters: 22-21, 41-38, 61-50, 80-69.
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