Gilas Pilipinas Youth opened their FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2023 campaign with a tough 83-67 loss to China, Sunday evening in Doha, Qatar.
Kieffer Alas led the way with 20 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. He was backed up by Cletz Amos who had 13 points and four rebounds. Kurt Velasquez chipped in with 12 points off the bench.
The first half of the game was a back-and-forth affair between both teams. Gilas was able to take a four-point lead late in the first quarter after a triple by Velasquez and a floater by Alas.
After China equalized the game, the Philippines once again pulled ahead in the second period. Alas drew a foul while shooting a triple, earning three from the line. Bonn Daja added a jumper off an Alas assist to give Gilas their biggest lead of the game, 36-30.
China went on a run to tie the game before the first half ended and rode that momentum all the way in the second half. They went on an 8-3 run to close the third quarter with an eight-point lead. The Chinese broke the game open in the fourth period with a 12-0 run and never looked back after that.
Gilas falls to 0-1 in Group D. Their next game will be against Kazakhstan and will close out the group stage with a game against Malaysia. The top three teams of each group will advance to the qualification games for the quarterfinals.
This tournament serves as the qualifier for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2024.