The quartet of Encho Serrano, AJ Edu, Juan Gomez de Liano, and Rhayan Amsali put together a string of masterful performances in a stacked Pool A, finishing with a 3-1 record to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIBA 3×3 Under-18 World Cup at the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China, Friday evening.
The Philippines, seeded seventh in the tournament, will take on the 12th seeded Belgium in the knockout quarterfinals on Sunday, July 2.
U-18 Pilipinas 3×3 needed to pull off a sweep in Day 2 after going 1-1 last Wednesday. Having escaped Israel with a 19-17 win, the young Philippine squad could not pull off a shocker against the top-seeded Netherlands team, falling 10-13.
17-year-old Encho Serrano, formerly part of the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, linked up with University of the Philippines-commit Juan Gomez de Liano in a 20-14 wire-to-wire win over Poland to open the day.
Lady luck then supported the Philippines’ cause later, as the Netherlands was able to defeat Israel, dropping the latter to a 3-1 slate with the Filipinos holding the tiebreaker edge.
With their fate in their hands, Serrano and De Liano once again powered the Philippines to a 21-14 romp of 15th-ranked Turkmenistan to seal their ticket to the next round.
De Liano got the Philippines to a rousing start, capping a 5-0 lead with a jumper. The Philippines would lead by as much as 16-6 with three minutes remaining in the game.
Serrano capped his spectacular day with a lay-up.
The young Filipinos are coached by second-generation mentor and 3×3 basketball advocate Anton Altamirano.