NANJING – Fatigue finally caught up with the Philippine 3-on-3 basketball team as it squandered a huge lead before bowing to Iran, 16-14, in their quarterfinals match on Thursday evening in the 2nd Asian Youth Games.
The Filipino dribblers, who came here one man short, took a big 9-1 lead only to allow the Iranians to catch up and grab the lead at 14-13 in the final 48 seconds.
The loss was the second straight in the last two weeks for a Philippine cage team against Iran in an Asian competition after Gilas Pilipinas lost to Hamed Hadadi and his powerhouse team in the Finals of the 27th Fiba-Asia Championship in Manila, 85-71.
“It was a won ballgame but playing here minus one player as substitute has already taken its toll on our players,” said coach Nic Jorge. "But they still fought hard."
The loss to Iran was followed by another 21-18 defeat to Malaysia in the consolation pool.
The 3-on-3 team was formed at the last minute after original choices John Paul Cauilan, Thirdy Ravena, and Renzo Subido begged off due to conflict with their studies.
“Kaya we’re playing at a disadvantage. May isa lang na ma-injure, wala na tayong players,” PH chef de mission Nathaniel `Tac’ Padillar bared to Spin.ph.
As it is, the trio of George Isaac Go, Patrick Ramirez, and Joshua Andrei Caracut had been playing all throughout the tournament without a substitute and played their fourth game against the Iranians after earlier victories over Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Maldives.
The Filipino dribblers, who can get the crowd here at the Wutaishan covered courts with their pleasing moves, were playing a consolation match as of post time.