RP youth finishes fifth
THE COUNTRY’S youth dribblers posted their best finish in recent memory after crushing host nation Yemen, 97-48, Friday night to clinch fifth place in the Fiba Asia U-18 championship. The win, which avenged the Filipino boys’ 76-69 defeat to the hosts in the classification phase, allowed the squad to notch its best possible finish after failing to make it to the semifinals. The Philippines also bettered its finish two years ago in Tehran, where the country placed seventh. Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Noli Eala said it was the Philippine youth team’s best finish in the last 16 years. “It was a different day and a different game altogether,” coach Eric Altamirano said in a message to the Inquirer. “We just wanted to leave everything on the floor.” Altamirano acknowledged the support of the fans saying “we had a nice crowd supporting us here. We wanted to leave Yemen with some happy memories for them.” Joshua Alolino scored seven of his game high 18 points in the first quarter as the Filipinos raced to a 22-10 lead. Shooting guard Kiefer Ravena, son of former PBA star Bong Ravena, finished with 15 points, the same output by Raphael Banal, son of Alaska Aces assistant coach Joel Banal, who also chipped in nine rebounds. Cris Tolomia and Jeth Rosario fired 10 points apiece while another Jeron Teng, son of ex-pro Alvin, had eight points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. So dominant were the Filipinos that Altamirano had the luxury of giving all his players at least eight minutes of playing time. The Philippines beat Yemen in every department of the game dominating the rebounds 40 to 30 and scoring 58 points in the paint to Yemen’s 26. The Filipinos were fouled often as they drove to the basket making 19 of 29 free throws to Yemen’s 4 of 12 and shooting 53 percent on a 36-of-68 performance from the field to their opponents 26 percent on 19-of-72 shooting. The Filipinos also made 6-of-14 triples while Yemen could only manage 6-of-34.