PAUL Desiderio completed the Philippines’ comeback from 15-points down by scoring the marginal basket as Batang Gilas stunned host Qatar, 82-79, on Friday night in the second round of the Fiba-Asia Under-18 Championship in Doha.
Desiderio’s late heroics allowed the Batang Gilas cagers to take the lead for good as they outscored the host, 29-15, in the final period and steal the victory in front of thousands of Filipino fans at the Al Ghafara Stadium.
National head coach Jamike Jarin, however, wasn’t happy with the overall play of the team but nevertheless praised his wards for never giving up.
“A win is a win but we can’t play like this,” said Jarin. “We started out flat, that is why Qatar played with a lot of confidence. Good thing our defense worked in the final three minutes.”
The hosts appeared to be on the verge of a victory after outscoring the Philippines, 25-13, in the third period, but the Qataris failed to hold on to a 68-53 advantage.
With the victory, the Batang Gilas moved up to third place with a 2-1 win-loss card in Group E behind undefeated squads China and South Korea (3-0).
Qatar was already up, 79-76, with 32 seconds left in the game when Radge Tongco hit a two-pointer to trim the deficit to one point.
The Philippines came up with a huge defensive play on the next possession and Desiderio hit a field goal with 17 seconds remaining for an 80-79 lead.
Back-to-back steals by Kobe Paras and Desiderio led to two free throws to settle the final score.
Dave Yu topscored for Batang Gilas with 16 points while Desiderio and Tongco added 13. Paras finally had his breakout game in the Fiba-Asia tournament by scoring 13 points. Richard Escoto had seven points and 10 rebounds.
Abdulrahman Mohammed Saad had 35 points for Qatar, which lost despite dominating the points in the paint, 50-30, over Batang Gilas.
Philippines (82) – Yu 16, Desiderio 13, Tongco 13, Paras 13, Escoto 7, Mosqueda 6, Caracut 6, Dyke 4, Go 2, Black 2, Santillan 0, Bienes 0.
Qatar (79) – Saad 35, Abdelhaleem 15, Alyousif 13, Alshawaqfeh 8, Abed 6, Aql 2, Abouzenad 0.
Quarterscores: 22-19, 39-40, 64-53, 82-79.