The road just got tougher for Gilas Pilipinas Boys’ Under-16 team.
The Philippines’ late fightback proved short, bowing to the Akatsuki Five to close out the group stage of the 2022 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship, 73-67, Tuesday at Al-Gharafa Sports Club Multi-Purpose Hall in Doha, Qatar.
Gilas ended the elimination stage with a 1-1 record in Pool C. They will next face Group D’s last-placed team Kazakhstan in a playoff on Thursday.
The winner of that match will take on the Australia Boomers in the quarterfinals.
It was just 17 hours ago when Gilas played Kuwait before this game tipped off.
Clearly, the Filipinos were playing on tired legs, trailing early and falling behind by as high as 13 points.
Gilas Youth would find their wind late in the game.
Down 69-59 with under three minutes left, Jared Bahay steered the ship, creating clean looks for himself, Caelum Harris, Zain Mahmood, and Alex Konov to cut the lead down to four, 71-67, with 33 seconds left.
After a good defensive stop that led to an Eijiro Ogawa miss, Josh Reyes sued for time.
In the ensuing play, however, Konov missed a trey that led to an Ogawa dagger that gave Japan an automatic quarterfinals berth.
Harris overcame a slow start, finishing with 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting to go along with six rebounds and three steals.
Bahay tallied 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals while Mahmood added 10 points and five rebounds.
Konov ended up with just seven points on a 3-of-11 shooting from the field while Kristian Michael Porter and Jacob Bayla were saddled with fouls all game long.
Japan will await the winner of the India/Qatar versus Indonesia game.
Yuto Kawashima was lights out for Japan, ending up with 26 points and 18 rebounds.
Leon Watanabe got 16 points and nine rebounds while Ogawa added 14 points built on four treys.
Philippines 67 – Harris 18, Bahay 10, Mahmood 10, Konov 7, Gemao 6, Competente 5, Nieto 5, Bayla 4, Porter 0, Reyes 0, Romero 0, Jones 0.
Japan 73 – Kawashima 26, Watanabe 16, Ogawa 14, Ishiguchi 9, Buto 2, Rooney 2, Suzuki 2, Williams 2, Naito 0, Appeah 0, Sakihama 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17, 24-35, 38-49, 67-73.