Big third-quarter surge lifts Energen Pilipinas past Bahrain

With J-Jay Alejandro and Jerie Pingoy sparking a decisive third-quarter surge, Energen-Pilipinas overcame a sluggish start against fast-starting Bahrain to fashion  out a 99-72 victory in the FIBA Asia Under-18 Championships in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

Alejandro, set to see action for the National University Bulldogs next season, collected a team-high 23 points while Pingoy added 19 as the Filipinos completely turned things around with a 38-point explosion in the third.

After trailing by as many as 14 points early and 35-46 at the break, the Nationals worked behind the dynamic duo of Alejandro and Pingoy anew to improve their record to 4-1 in Group F alongside Chinese-Taipei and powerhouse Iran.

Earlier, the Taiwanese pulled the rug from under the favored Iranians with a gutsy 78-77 overtime victory. But owing to their 21-point win over the Philippines, the Iranians clinched top spot in the group, with Chinese-Taipei finishing second and Team PH third. The Filipinos will meet Korea in the crossover quarterfinals.

The win by the PH team, handled by coach Olsen Racela, also lifted Saudi Arabia (1-4), which downed Indonesia 73-67, to the eight-team quarterfinals.

With Ali Hassan Shukralla, who finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and three blocks, wreaking his havoc early on, the Bahrainis pounced on the Filipinos’ sloppy plays, jumping to an early 22-13 lead that ballooned to 46-32.

Jolted back to their senses, the Filipinos started buckling down to work in the third, dropping a 19-8 run capped by Rey Nambatac’s basket that forged a 54-all count at the 5:34 mark.

Pingoy then connected back-to-back buckets, sparking the Filipinos’ 19-7 breakaway surge that gave them a comfortable 73-61 lead into the fourth.
Alejandro stood anew in the Nationals’ sustained charge in the fourth as the Bahrainis completely stumbled.

Hubert Cani finished with 11 points, the same output by Nambatac, for the Nationals, who outrebounded their counterparts 42-25, thanks to the combined 22 boards of Mark Olayon and Michael Javelosa. 

The scores:
Philippines 99 – Alejandro 23, Pingoy 19, Cani 11, Nambatac 11, Suarez 8, Porter 7, Javelosa 6, Lao 5, Babilonia 4, Olayon 3, Rivero 2.

Bahrain 72 – Shukralla 32, Buallay 16, Melad 7, Naser 7, Abul 6, Ali Sayed 4, Abdulrasool 0, Abdulredha 0.
Quarterscores: 13-22, 35-46, 73-61, 99-72


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