The Energen-Philippine Youth team banked on a strong third-quarter run to trounce upset-conscious Bahrain, 99-72, as the preliminaries of the FIBA-Asia U18 Championship came to a close on Wednesday.
The Nationals outscored their Middle East counterparts in a searing third-quarter run, 38-15, to turn an 11-point deficit at the half (35-46) into a 73-61 lead entering the fourth.
The win was the fourth in five outings for the Nationals as they enter the quarterfinals on a winning note following a sweep of all their assignments in Group F.
The shocking loss of former champion Iran to Chinese-Taipei earlier created a three-way tie at the top of the same group among the Filipinos, Iranians, and Taiwanese.
The quirks of the quotient system, however, relegated the Nationals to No. 3 and an early meeting with Korea.
The Koreans bowed to China, 102-107, in overtime to settle for second spot and a quarterfinal encounter with the Philippines.
National head coach Olsen Racela scouted in the China-Korea game and made his assessment about the Koreans through his Twitter account.
“Haven't seen a Korean youth team this big...ever! They're almost as tall as China,” Racela tweeted on his @thebigOls account.
But Racela is still optimistic especially after their Filipino youth cagers’ third-quarter explosition.
“Now if we can play that way for the whole game, we'll have a chance!,” wrote Racela.
PHILIPPINES (99) – Alejandro 23, Pingoy 19, Cani 11, Nambatac 11, Suarez 8, Porter 7, Javelosa 6, Lao 5, Babilonia 4, Olayon 3, Rivero 2.
BAHRAIN (72) – A. Shukralla 32, Buallay 16, Naser 7, Melad 7, Abul 6, Ali Sayed 4, Abdulrasool 0, Abdulredha 0.
Quarterscores: 13-22, 35-46, 73-61, 99-72.