Gilas Youth ends at 7th after outlasting Iran in FIBA Asia U-16

Gilas Youth ended their FIBA Asia U-16 campaign with a win against Iran. (FIBA basketball)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Gilas Youth national basketball team ended their 2022 FIBA Asia Under-16 Championships campaign with a seventh-place finish after outdueling Iran, 95-87.

Coming off a disappointing loss against team Australia that prevented them from advancing to the playoffs, the young Gilas squad made sure they end the tournament on a high note and put up a tremendous display of basketball against the Iranians.

The Gilas Youth showed poise under pressure after coming back from a 13-point deficit and banked on their balanced attack with five players scoring double-figures during the win.

Alex Konov led the Filipino cagers and dropped a team-high 18 points, Caelum Harris had 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks, Renzo Competente with 14, Jared Bahay with 13, and Zain Mahmood with 11.

Gilas caught fire during a much-needed scoring stretch in the third frame spearheaded by Konov’s back-to-back three-pointers and made a solo 8-0 run that trimmed Iran’s double-digit lead to just two in the last minutes of the quarter.

The Philippines continued to execute their offensive sets and snowballed their way in the final canto with a 16-2 run that stunned the Iranian national team.

Harris and Bahay’s all-around effort also helped Gilas’ comeback in the fourth quarter and combined for three steals, two blocks, and 12 rebounds.

With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Gilas Youth had their best offensive outburst and built their lead to 14 points, 84-70, after Competente’s three-point shot.

Kris Porter and Jacob Bayla also contributed to the Gilas youth squad and had seven points, six assists, four rebounds and nine points, respectively.