Gilas Youth falls to Japan, to face off Kazakhstan in playoff

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The Gilas Youth got nicked by Japan, 67-73, in the 2022 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship on Tuesday night at the Al-Gharafa Sports Club Multi-Purpose Hall in Doha.

It was an uphill climb for the young Filipino cagers who trailed by 14 in the final canto before pulling to within four, 67-71, after a bucket by Alexander Konov with 13 seconds left, in a spirited comeback sparked by Filipino-American wingman Caelum Harris.

However, the Japanese weren’t fazed and secured the victory as Eijiro Ogawa scored on a jumper with just three seconds to go.

Harris led the Gilas Youth with 18 points, six rebounds, two steals, an assist, and a block. Cebuano guard Jared Bahay continued his fine play with 12 points, six boards, three assists, and three steals, while Zain Mahmood pitched in 10 points and five rebounds.

However, the road to the next round has become tougher for the Philippines as it must now take on the third placer of Group D, Kazakhstan, in a playoff game. The winner of that match will then take on the top seed of Group A, Australia.

Yuto Kawashima led Japan with 26 points, 18 rebounds, and three assists as Japan booked the top spot in Group C. Leon Watanabe added 16 points and nine boards, while Ogawa put up 14.

For the second game in a row, the Philippines failed to make their mark from rainbow country, making just four of their 23 attempts. They also had a tough time distributing the ball, amassing just seven assists all game long.

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