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Gilas boys storm back vs Japan, secure FIBA U-17 World Cup slot

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Gilas boys storm back vs Japan, secure FIBA U-17 World Cup slot

MANILA, Philippines -- The Gilas Pilipinas boys team is off to the FIBA U-17 World Cup in Turkiye next year after completing a come-from-behind win over Japan, 64-59, in Doha, Qatar.

Gilas has advanced to the FIBA U16 Asia semifinals with the win.

Japan led by as much as 10 points in the first half and was even ahead for the majority of the game.

But the Philippines stormed back in the third quarter and eventually took the lead toward the end of the period, 46-45, with a 3-pointer by Joaquin Ludovice.

The two teams then battled it out at the start of the fourth quarter.

Japan’s Kaito Nakamura sank a pair of free throws to cut the lead to one, 55-56, with 4:47 remaining.

The Gilas boys then pulled out the necessary stops to keep Japan at bay.

Kurt Velasquez scored four consecutive markers to give Philippines a five-point lead, 60-55, with 3:04 remaining.

But Japan continued to nip away the lead, bringing it down to one anew, 59-60, with a layup by Ginga Sembo.

Bonn Daja hit the daggers for Gilas off the assists by Kiefer Alas to set the final score.

Alas led the way for Gilas, filling up the statsheet with 29 points, nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.

Ludovice followed with 11 points while Kurt Velasquez had 10.Japan was led by Shogo Takata with 12 points.

The Gilas boys will be facing Australia in the semifinals. Whoever wins the clash will face either New Zealand or China in the finals.

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