Gilas Men’s U23 witnessed the bitter end of its unbeaten streak at the hands of Mongolia, 21-12, in the 19th Asian Games 3×3 competitions, Friday at the Deqing Geographic Information Park Basketball Court in Hangzhou, China.
Back-to-back deuces by Batzaya Tsermaa and Ulsii-Orhiikh Myagmarsuren to open the match proved to be heavy punches that hurt a lot as the Filipinos never found the same form that enabled them to win their first three outings.
The game ended still with 2:24 to spare, when Avirmed Lkhagva calmly sank both of his free throws — off their foes’ 10th foul — for the kill.
Making the loss even tougher to fathom for Coach Lester Del Rosario and his charges is that the Philippines slid all the way down to the third seed of Pool A for having the lowest total points (63) among the 3-1 teams in the said pool.
As a result, Gilas U23 will have to go through the qualification for quarterfinals on Saturday, where it takes on the second seed of Pool D.
Bismarck Lina carried the load with seven points as the trio of Bryan Sajonia, JR Pasaol, and Justine Sanchez combined for just five in the defeat.
Leading the team from Central Asia, meanwhile, was Tsermaa with eight points, although he received ample support from his teammates.
Myagmarsuren provided six points, while Lkhagva and Sukhbat Batzorig chipped in three each in the win that saw the squad nail five two-pointers.
Mongolia ended up as the no. 1 team in Pool A and is headed straight to the quarterfinals, which is set on Saturday evening.
Mongolia (21) – Tsermaa 8, Myagmarsuren 6, Lkhagva 3, Batzorig 3.
Philippines (12) – Lina 7, Sajonia 2, Pasaol 2, Sanchez 1.