MANILA, Philippines – After an impressive 3-0 start in the FIBA U18 Asian Championship, the Gilas Youth collapsed in the quarterfinals as it struggled to overcome a hot-shooting Lebanon, 99-83, on Wednesday, August 24, at the Azadi Basketball Hall in Tehran, Iran.
A victory would have propelled the Philippines to the world stage as only the top four finishers would earn slots in the FIBA U19 World Cup.
Mason Amos, who had been leading the country’s campaign, had 11 points, 7 assists, and 2 assists as the young Filipinos struggled early, shooting only 11-of-35 in the first half.
Kyle Gamber, who came off the bench, was the only other Gilas player to reach double figures with 10 points.
Lebanese starter Bryan Mansour had a scintillating game as he poured in 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists to lead his team to a spot in the World Cup.
Karim Rtail also tallied 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists for the young Cedars.
The sizzling Lebanese shot 51 points from three-point range on a 17-of-30 clip while the Filipinos tallied only 9-of-23 from beyond the arc.
Lebanon quickly dashed the Philippines’ hopes in the knockout match as it rushed to a 16-point lead in the opening quarter, 27-11.
Still unstoppable on the offensive end, the Lebanese extended the gap to 27 points over the Filipinos, 80-53, by halftime.
The Filipinos, though, pumped hope into their bid after the break as Amos, Gamber, and Joshua Coronel teamed up to help the Philippines cut its deficit to 44-57.
But Rtail eventually responded for Lebanon, while Karl Kozah and Karl Zamatta combined for 5 points in a quick 8-0 spurt to counter the Filipinos’ small fightback.
Kozah then drilled back-to-back three-pointers to kick off the final quarter and give Lebanon a commanding 86-53 lead over the hapless Filipinos.
The Philippines will return to action in the classification phase on Friday, August 26, where they will take on Chinese Taipei.
Lebanon 99 – Mansour 28, Rtail 25, Kozah 18, Zamatta 10, AR. Sabbagh 6, Sleimann 4, Assaf 4, A. Sabbagh 4, Nasar 0, Alalia 0.
Philippines 83 – Amos 11, Gamber 10, Abadam 9, Pablo 9, Demisana 9, Nacaua 8, Coronel 8, Bahay 7, Gagate 6, Porter 3, Alao 3, Andres 0.
Quarters: 27-11, 53-35, 80-53, 99-83.