THE Philippines came from behind to get back at Chinese Taipei, 77-72, and arrange a title showdown with defending champion China for the Fiba-Asia U16 Championship late Thursday night in Tehran, Iran.
The Filipinos outscored the Taiwanese in the final four minutes, 9-2, to pull off the come-from-behind win in their semifinal showdown at the Azadi Sports Complex and earn a berth to the 2014 Fiba-World U-17 Championship in Dubai.
The Gilas Pilipinas youth team collides with two-time reigning champion China in the winner-take-all title showdown on Friday as the Filipinos are already assured of their best finish in the biennial meet that started in 2009.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan readily lauded the success of the team in a text message to coach Mike Jarin.
“You guys have done a magnificent job. You’ve made the country much happier after the Fiba-Asia,” said Pangilinan.
The win avenged the Filipinos' lone loss in the tournament inflicted by the Taiwanese in the preliminary, 95-90.
It likewise allowed the country to get even against the same country that beat the Gilas Pilipinaes men’s team, 79-84, in the opening round of the 27th Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Manila two months ago.
For a while, the Taiwanese seemed poised to repeat over the Filipinos when they led, 70-68, in the final 3:56 of the tightly-fought contest.
But the young Gilas team willed itself back and came through with the telling run in the endgame.
Jose Mendoza topscored for the Philippines with 28 points while center Michael Nieto added 17 and 14 rebounds.
Joseph Nieto had 11 points and Andres Desiderio grabbed 15 rebounds.
Philippines (77) – Mendoza 28, Nieto 17, J. Nieto 11, Desiderio 8, Navarro 6, Escoto 4, Dela Cruz 3, Padilla 0, Go 0, Abdeza 0, Dario 0.
Chinese Taipei (72) – Hsu 14, Tu 14, Wu 13, Chang 9, Chen 8, Huang 8, Chan C. 4, Sun 2, Chen PH 0, Wu 0, Sun Yc 0, Chan C 0.
Quarterscores: 23-17; 42-37; 59-54; 77-72