The Philippine Under-16 squad relied on balanced scoring and defense to upset host Iran, 79-52, and gain a semifinal seat for the third straight year in the third FIBA Asia U-16 Championship Wednesday night inTehran, Iran.
Jose Lorenzo Mendoza of Ateneo de Manila scattered 16 points, while Michael Joseph Nieto also of Ateneo had 13 points and Hope Christian High School’s Jose Go IV contributed 12 points for the Philippine team under head coach Mike Jarin.
“We were really motivated by the defeat that happened to Gilas at Manila,” said Jarin on the FIBA Asia U-16 website, referring to the Gilas Pilipinas men squad’s 71-85 loss to Iran in the 27th Fiba Asia Men’s Championship last August during the championship round.
University of the Philippines’ Andres Desiderio scored 11 points and La Salle Greenhills’ Carlo Abadeza had 10 points.
The Filipinos leaned on their speed and shooting to race to a 38-24 lead at halftime. The Iranians tried to match the Filipinos’ speed but managed to score only six points in the last quarter.
A win by the Filipinos will earn them a ticket in the U-17 World Championship in Dubai next year.
Taiwan nipped Bahrain, 70-67, and will face the Philippines in the semifinals.
Defending champion China routed Kazakhstan, 102-75, to meet Japan in the semifinals. Japan ripped South Korea, 75-71.
The Philippines-Taiwan game was slated on Thursday at 7 p.m. (12 midnight Manila time).
JOSEF T. RAMOS