THE Philippine Youth team was overwhelmed by the wholehearted support shown by Filipinos in two separate major tournament held in the Middle East recently.
The Batang Gilas felt like playing at home as throngs of Filipino fans watched them during the FIBA Under-17 World Championship in Dubai and the FIBA-Asia Under-18 Championship in Doha.
But Filipino support was more overwhelming during the Asian tournament as thousands filled the Al Ghafara Stadium in Doha to watch the Batang Gilas Under-18 squad finished fifth after beating Japan in overtime, 113-105.
“We thank everybody for all the prayers and support especially the people in Doha,” said national youth head coach Jamike Jarin hours after the team’s victory over Japan.
Thanks to a raucous crowd, the Batang Gilas finished the tournament in style as they overcome a 12-point Japanese lead in the fourth period to force overtime thanks to a triple by Radge Tongco.
Momentum swung on the side of Batang Gilas in the extra period for good to pull off the come-from-behind win.
Despite missing the top three spots which would have given the Batang Gilas a spot in the FIBA Under-19 World Championship next year, Jarin is satisfied with the exploits of his players as they improved on their sixth place finish two years ago in Mongolia.
“We fought hard but didn’t make it to the top three. Nevertheless, it’s an improvement. Proud of our 12 young men,” he said.