MANILA, Philippines – After showing much promise early in the FIBA U18 Asian Championship, Gilas Pilipinas Youth ended the tournament on a whimper as they lost to host Iran, 89-72, in the classification phase to settle for sixth place on Sunday, August 28, at the Azadi Basketball in Tehran.
Mason Amos once again paced the Filipinos with 22 points and 5 rebounds, and the 6-foot-7 teen was backstopped by Earl Jarred Abadam with 18 points, but their efforts weren’t enough to lift the young Nationals.
The two have been the Philippines’ main offensive options, with Amos norming 21.2 points on top of 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists, while the 6-foot-5 Abadam averaged 11.5 points the entire tournament.
By landing at sixth among 10 teams, the Josh Reyes-mentored squad finished lower than the 2018 team bannered by Kai Sotto and AJ Edu, which reached the semifinals and qualified for the World Cup.
Only the top four teams in the tournament will advance to the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in 2023 in Hungary.
But the young Filipinos fell to Lebanon in the knockout quarterfinals that ended their World Cup hopes.
Relegated to the classification phase, Gilas Youth had aimed for a fifth-place finish after repeating over Chinese Taipei but got whipped by Iran in its final match.
The Filipinos, though, managed to keep in step with the Iranians and trailed by just a point at the end of the first canto, 18-17.
But similar to their game against Lebanon, the Gilas Youth coaching staff showed an inability to adjust to a lights-out shooting squad as Iran peppered the Philippines with 11 three-point conversions.
Iran’s two shooting guards, 6-foot-5 shooting Matyar Ahmadpour and 6-foot-7 Mohammad Amini, combined for 7 triples out of 16 attempts.
Iran started pulling away in the second quarter as they ended the first half ahead by 13 points, 43-30.
With eight players standing 6-foot-6 and above, the Iranians lorded it over the Filipinos in the rebounding department, 52-38.
It did not help the Gilas Youth’s cause that the host team was only called for five fouls the entire ballgame. The game was practically over going in the latter portion of the third quarter as the Iranian lead ballooned to as many as 27 points.
Ahmadpour scored 19 while Amini flirted with a triple-double, tallying 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists to lead Iran.
Iran 89 – Ahmadpour 19, Amini 19, Jafari 17, Manesh 12, Khosravi 10, Nia 7,Momeni 5, Josheaghni 0.
Philippines 72 – Amos 22, Abadam 18, Gamber 9, Gagate 8, Nacua 5, Bahay 4, Coronel 4, Demisana 2, Pablo 0, Porter 0 Andres 0.
Quarters: 18-17, 43-30, 66-46, 89-72.