The Philippines absorbed a close 14-18 loss to Belgium despite a gutsy stand in the quarterfinals of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3×3 World Cup in Chengdu, China.
Comprised of prodigies AJ Edu, Rhayyan Amsali, Encho Serrano and Juan Gomez de Liaño, the delegation bowed out with its best finish in the five-year history of the tournament.
Edu banked in a short stab to give the Philippines an early 4-1 lead but Belgium took over, 9-8, halfway the contest.
The young Filipino cagers managed to knot the game at 12-all on Edu’s slam off a splendid Serrano pass with under two and a half minutes left.
Vincent Peeters broke the deadlock with a two-pointer as the lankier Belgians held on to the hard-earned win.
Prior to winding up with a playoff finish, the Philippines notched three wins against a loss in the preliminary round to notch the second place in Pool A.
The Filipinos opened up their campaign with a 19-17 squeaker over Israel then suffered a 10-13 defeat to Netherlands before weaving a string of victories against Poland (20-14) and Turkmenistan (21-14).
JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA