Saturday, August 23, 2014

Batang Gilas downs host Qatar in FIBA Asia U-18 tilt

The Philippine national youth basketball team mounted an epic fourth quarter comeback hand host Qatar a heartbreaking 81-79 defeat in the second round of the FIBA Asia Under-18 Championship in Doha.

Batang Gilas came back from a whopping 15-point deficit in the final period behind booming three-pointers and some excellent play in the clutch.

Dave Yu led the way with 16 points, including three consecutive triples in the fourth that kicked off the Philippine rally. Three other Filipinos – Radge Tongco, Kobe Paras and Paul Desiderio – contributed 13 points apiece.

Qatar started out hot behind Abdulrahman Mohamed Saad, who scored 15 of his team’s first 19 points as the hosts took a nine-point first quarter lead, 21-12.

Batang Gilas, behind some instant offense from reserve Paul Desiderio, charged right back with a 7-1 run to close the period trailing by just three, 22-19.

The Filipinos claimed the lead in the second period amidst an 8-0 run spearheaded by Kobe Paras, who gave the Philippines a taste of the lead, 38-37, before Dave Yu added another basket to cap the rally.

Despite a huge 22-point output from Saad, it was the Philippines leading at the half, 40-39.

Saad went to back to work in the third, scoring 13 of Qatar’s first 19 points. The forward knocked down three three-pointers to lead his squad to an 11-point advantage, 58-47, which they were able to maintain until the end of the third.

The Filipinos, who trailed 64-53, were outscored 25-12 in the third.

In the fourth, Mohamed Gameil Abed and Abdelrahman Yehia Abdelhaleem opened with back-to-back baskets that pushed the lead to as high as 15 points, 68-53, at the 7:43 mark.

But Yu caught fire from beyond the arc, knocking down three consecutive triples to cut the deficit down to just eight, 70-62, with over six minutes to left to play.

Desiderio joined the party a little while later with a three-pointer of his own, bringing Batang Gilas to seven, 72-65, before Chino Mosqueda hit the team’s fifth three-pointer of the quarter to make it a six-point game, 74-68.

Tongco, who was 2-for-15 at that point, followed it up with two more points that made it 76-72 with just two minutes remaining.

The teams traded baskets before Mosqueda and Tongco scored four consecutive points to bring Batang Gilas to within a single point, 1:02 to play.

Qatar scored on their next offensive but Tongco came up big yet again. The San Beda guard missed his first shot but stuck with to score on a second opportunity that once again put the Philippines within one, 79-78.

The Filipinos were able to recover the ball after a Qatar turnover and Desiderio hit the biggest basket of the game, putting Batang Gilas ahead, 80-79, with 17 seconds on the clock.


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