THE Philippine team exacted vengeance against Iran after scoring a dominant 79-52 win to advance in the semifinals of the 3rd Fiba-Asia U-16 Championship Wednesday night in Tehran, Iran.
Jose Lorenzo Mendoza topscored with 16 points for the Filipinos, who drew double figures from four others in the victory that somehow soothed the pain of Gilas Pilipinas’ 85-71 loss to the Iranians in the battle for the gold medal of the 27th Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Manila two months ago.
Coach Mike Jarin and the rest of the young Filipinos will now battle Chinese-Taipei in the semifinals on Thursday. The Taiwanese arrange the showdown with the Philippines following a 70-67 win over Bahrain in the first game of the knockout quarterfinals.
The Filipinos bucked a partisan crowd at the Azadi Sports Complex by racing to an early 38-21 lead, before surviving a huge Iran onslaught in the third period to take with them a 57-46 advantage heading into the final quarter.
They never looked back from there, limiting the Iranians to just six points in the fourth.
Michael Nieto added 13 points, while Jose Go had 12 as the country remains on track for one of three berths at stake in the tournament for the 2014 Fiba-World U-17 Championship in Dubai.
Big man Soheil Farhadichalabeh was a one-man wrecking crew for Iran with 26 points and eight rebounds.
Japan earlier ousted Korea in their quarterfinal match, 75-71, and will meet the winner of the game between China and Kazakhstan in the other semifinal pairing.
Philippines (79) – Mendoza 16, Nieto 13, Go 12, Desiderio 11, Abadeza 10, Dela Cruz 6, Escoto 5, J. Nieto 2, Navarro 2, Padilla 2, Dario 0, Panlilio 0.
Iran (52) – Farhadichalabeh 26, Sheikhi 8, Nasiririneh 4, Baban 4, Razeghin 3, Meraji 3, Azari 2, Seyedi 2, Poat kisomi 0.
Quarterscores: 22-14; 38-24; 57-46; 79-52.