PH U-18 squad to play in ‘group of death’

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The Philippines will be playing in “group of death” in the 2016 FIBA (International Basketball Federtion) 3×3 Under-18 World Championships slated on June 1 to 5 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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Based on FIBA’s drawing of lots, the Philippines will play in Pool D along with defending champion New Zealand and powerhouse teams Hungary, Brazil and Spain.

The Netherlands, Uruguay, Slovenia, Belgium and Egypt are in Pool A while Turkey, China, Andorra, Argentina and Georgia are grouped in Pool B, and Romania, Indonesia, Italy, Qatar and host Kazakhstan in Pool C.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the eight-team knockout stage.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas named John Lloyd Clemente of National University, Theo Joshua Flores of University of the Visayas, Filipino-Australian Joshua Sinclair of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and 6-foot-4 Kyle Christian Tan in the team.

The Philippines opens its campaign with games against New Zealand and fifth seed Brazil on June 2 before taking on fourth seed Hungary and European champion Spain on June 4.

In the 2015 edition held in Hungary, the Philippines bannered by Kobe Paras, Richard Escoto, Michael Nieto and Ricci Paolo Rivero, finished 17th overall.

They beat Hungary, 19-18, and Kazakhstan, 13-8, but lost to Poland, 13-15, Russia, 9-21, and Uruguay, 13-19.

Paras, however, pocketed the Slam Dunk crown, beating American Jalek Felton and Uruguay’s Agustin Da Costa in the final showdown.

It was his second crown after winning his first in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2013.

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