PH youth cagers start strong in FIBA-Asia U-16, 3x3 tiffs
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' two teams came through with strong starts to jumpstart their ambitious bids in the 3rd FIBA-Asia Under-16 Championship in Tehran, Iran and the 2013 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia Friday.
The Nationals, mentored by Jamike Jarin, survived a late, torrid shooting day by Leonid Voronushkin and escaped with a 90-88 victory to book their first win in the third staging of the biennial meet where they hope to match, if not surpass fourth place finishes in the first two stagings.
The 3x3 squad of Thirdy Ravena, Arvin Tolentino, Prince Rivero, Kobe Paras likewise zoomed to a fast, impressive start as it swept Pool B with victories over Chinese Taipei, Guatemala and Andorra.
The Filipinos are one of the six teams who remained unscathed including tournament favorite USA, the reigning champion that won all its three games before the limit and ended Day One as the best in offense in the tournament after amassing a total score of 63 points.
Puerto Rico of Pool A, Argentina of Pool C and Germany and Poland in Pool D likewise went undefeated after the group stages.
Over in Iran, the Phl came back from five points down in the fourth quarter with clutch baskets and key stops in the stretch.
La Salle-Greenhill's Mike dela Cruz led the Nationals with 19 points while University of the Phl's Paul Desiderio chipped in 10 points.
Ateneo's Joseph Matthew Nieto also made a clutch defensive stop after he blocked a potential dagger from the sweet-shooting Voronushkin, whose desperation three-point attempt was blocked by the former with a second to go, sealing the win for Jamike Jarin's charges.
"This one's for flag and country," Jarin told The STAR through text message.
The Phl is playing Chinese Taipei at press time but regardless of the result, it has already qualified in the second round as its bracket, Group D, only has three teams in it.