THE Philippines bowed to South Korea, 87-69, on Thursday for its first loss going into the second round of the Fiba-Asia Under-18 Championship in Doha, Qatar.
Radge Tongco led Batang Gilas once again with 24 points on 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc but it was not enough against the runners-up in the last edition of the tournament two years ago in Mongolia.
Despite the loss, the Filipino cagers are assured of a place in the second round since there are only three teams in Group B. They will be joined by their top three counterparts in Group A to form Group E where the Batang Gilas is set for a collision course with China in the round-robin phase.
The Batang Gilas made their biggest run at the start of the third quarter when they trimmed South Korea’s lead to 45-41. But a 7-0 run sparked by a triple by Jun Hyeong Byeong allowed the Koreans to widen the gap.
The Koreans continued to pull away in the fourth when they outscored the Pinoy cagers, 26-15.
Mark Dyke had 10 points and 13 rebounds while Aaron Black had eight for Batang Gilas. Richard Escoto added eight points while Kobe Paras had six points.
The Koreans had more steals, 14-5, that led to 23 points off turnovers, although the Filipinos won the rebounding battle, 47-39.
South Korea (87) – K. Kim 17, K. Song 17, H. Kwon 17, H. Jeon 12, J. Byeon 10, T. Jang 4, J. Park 4, Y. Kim 3, H. Yoo 2, Y. Lee 1, J. Yang 0, W. Pack 0.
Philippines (69) -- Tongco 24, Dyke 10, Black 8, Escoto 7, Paras 6, Go 4, Desiderio 4, Santillan 3, Caracut 2, Mosqueda 1, Yu 0, Bienes 0.
Quarterscores: 23-17, 45-39, 61-54, 87-69.