THE PHILIPPINES advanced to the next round of the Fiba-Asia U18 Championships after defeating Kazakhstan, 83-69, on Saturday in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia.
The Energen-Pilipinas squad had some anxious moments in the third period, but went on a 28-17 tear in the fourth to register its second straight win in less than 24 hours.
The Filipinos routed Saudi Arabia, 95-52, in their opening game Friday.
The youth squad will next face Iran to wrap up its campaign in the preliminaries of Group D, but nonetheless, is already assured of a spot in the second round where it will be joined by the top three teams from Group C.
Mario Bonleon topscored for 20 points, while Jay-J Alejandro added 18 for the Nationals.
Despite leading 38-30 lead at the half, the Filipinos found themselves trailing 46-49 in the third period.
But Bonleon came to the team’s rescue, tying the game with a three and then scored a go-ahead twinner en route to a 55-52 lead for the Nationals entering the pivotal fourth.
Then, the youth cagers pulled away with a 7-0 run to turn a 59-56 lead to 66-56.
The Philippines survived the 22-point efforts of Alexey Kurochka and Almyzhan Makutov.
PHILIPPINES (83) -- Bonleon 20, Alejandro 18, Suarez 14, Cani 10, Pingoy 4, Rivero 4, Porter 4, Babilonia 3, Olayon 2, Lao 2, Nambatac 2, Javelosa 0.
KAZAKHSTAN (69) -- Kurochka 22, Maxutov 22, Marchuk 14, Zhumabek 5, Nalogov 3, Kadtsin 2, Nurkhanov 1, Toktarov 0, Kryachko 0, Tulepbergenov 0, Korotkiy 0.
Quarterscores: 18-18, 38-30, 55-52, 83-69.