NANJING, China – After the Fiba-Asia Championship, it’s the Philippines vs. Iran all over again as the two countries clash in the quarterfinals of the 3-on-3 basketball competition of the 2nd Asian Youth Games.
The intrepid Filipino trio of George Isaac Go, Patrick Ramirez, and Andrei Caracut arranged the showdown with the Iranians after sailing past Maldives, 21-10, late Sunday night.
Go, Ramirez, and Caracut continued to play well in their first tournament together as they scored their third victory in as many games despite playing without a substitute.
The Filipinos, who earlier beat Indonesia, 10-8, and Saudi Arabia, 14-10, at the Wutaishan covered courts, take a two-day rest before facing Iran on Wednesday.
It will be the second clash between the two Asian powerhouse teams in less than two weeks after Iran beat Gilas Pilipinas, 85-71, in the gold-medal game of the Fiba-Asia meet at the Mall of Asia Arena.
And like its senior counterparts, the junior team is aware beating the taller Iranians will be a tough task.
“Iran has a tall player and will be tough to beat. But our players are more skillful playing 3-on-3. In 3-on-3 you don’t rely too much on plays,” said coach Nic Jorge.
“Besides, Iran almost lost to Bangladesh here, winning only in overtime. That may be a good sign for us,” said Jorge, a longtime backer of the junior program back home.
If they get past Iran, a semifinals encounter with Chinese-Taipei is highly-possible for the Filipino teens.
In the medal rounds, the Filipinos’ most likely opponents are Korea and China.