MANILA, Philippines - Energen Pilipinas fought back from 11 points down to blast Bahrain, 99-72, but faced an uphill battle in the quarterfinal round after Chinese-Taipei shocked fancied Iran, 78-77, in overtime in the 22nd FIBA Asia Under-18 Championship at the Buyant Ukhaa Arena in Ulan Bator, Mongolia yesterday.
The Filipino youths rode on a big second half run to wallop the Bahrainis but settled for the No. 3 spot in its group after the Taiwanese stunned the Iranians to snatch the No. 2 seat in the quarters.
Meanwhile, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chief Manny V. Pangilinan said Energen’s victory over Bahrain has been dedicated to the late Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Pangilinan also stressed that the Smart Gilas thrilling win over South Korea in the Jones Cup was offered by the Nationals to the memory of the late DILG secretary.
Iran, Taiwan and the Phl finished tied at 4-1 after the single round elims but the Iranians, who routed the Filipinos, 92-73, earlier, took the No. 1 spot with a superior quotient with the Taiwanese snatching second place while relegating the Energen boys, who beat the Taiwanese, 88-83, to No. 3.
Energen outscored Bahrain, 38-15, in the third period, turning an 11-point halftime deficit to a 12-point advantage going to the fourth.
The Nationals sustained their firepower in the last 10 minutes and went on to outscore the Bahrainis, 26-11, to post the runaway victory.
Energen will face the other group's No. 2 team, South Korea, which blew double-digit leads and dropped a heartbreaking 102-107 overtime loss to defending champion China.
Co-skipper Rodolfo Alejandro led the Nationals with 23 points while Jerie Pingoy, Hubert Cani and Rey Nambatac added 19, 11 and 11 points, respectively.
Energen also outrebounded Bahrain, 42-25, with Mark Anthony Olayon and Jay Javelosa combining for 22 rebounds.
The Phl youth trailed by double digits in the first half after a cold start.
Ali Hassan Shukralla led Bahrain with 32 points, 12 boards, five steals and three blocks.
Energen Pilipinas, which swept the Southeast Asian Basketball Association U-18 Championship in Singapore last month, is out to improve on its fifth place finish the last time in Sana’A, Yemen while aiming for one of the three berths in the 2013 FIBA World Under-19 Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.
Energen 99 – Alejandro 23, Pingoy 19, Cani 11, Nambatac 11, Suarez 8, Porter 7, Javelosa 6, Lao 5, Babilonia 4, Olayon 3, Rivero 2, Bonleon 0
Bahrain 72 – Shukralla 32, Buallay 16, Naser 7, Melad 7, Abul 6, Sayed 4, Abdulrasool 0, Abdulredha 0
Quarterscores: 13-22; 35-46; 73-61; 99-72