Friday, October 28, 2011

FIBA Asia U16 2011 : Energen Pilipinas settles for fourth

Source : Mikkel Bolante, InterAKTV

NHA TRANG CITY – “Puso” has been the battle cry of the Energen Pilipinas Under-16 national team all throughout the FIBA Asia Under-16 Championships in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

The boys showed they had plenty of heart even as they lost to Japan, 94-81, in the battle for third place in the tournament.

Energen Pilipinas finished the 1st quarter up 16-11, and kept things close in the second as the team entered halftime just one point apart, with Japan leading, 32-31.

But the Japanese, who used a similar zone defense that stymied the Filipinos one night earlier against Korea, opened up a huge 20-point advantage behind the three-point shooting of Daiki Kaneko at the close of the 3rd quarter.

With big man Jay Javelosa playing limited minutes because of foul trouble, Energen Pilipinas coach Olsen Racela gambled on a small-ball lineup in the fourth quarter to try to quicken the pace and force turnovers.

With athletic small forward Jordan Heading manning the paint and captain J-Jay Alejandro, Kyles Lao, Rev Diputado and Hubert Cani on the floor, Energen Pilipinas launched a strong fourth quarter comeback as the small five applied a deadly pressing defense that allowed the Philippines to close the gap to just eight at 85-77.

Alejandro, marked by a Japan defense that overplayed him for most of his touches, erupted in the fourth period, where he scored 12 of his 14 points. Hubert Cani and Kyles Lao also saved their best for last, scoring 11 and 8 in the final period, respectively.

Cani and Lao finished with team-highs of 16 points apiece. Undersized big man Prince Rivero battled underneath to finish with 10 while Diputado and Heading added eight and seven for the team.

Kaneko finshed with 25 points for Japan while Yusei Sugiura, who scored 30 points against the Philippines in the second round, finished with 21.

Energen Pilipinas finishes the tournament in 4th place, behind finalists China and Korea, and Japan. The ranking matches the country’s finish in the 1st FIBA Asia Under-16 Championships held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia two years ago.

The scores:

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, Dalafu 0, Caracut 0, Go 0

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