It was a double victory for Gilas Pilipinas Youth after beating Japan, 64-59, in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2023 as they earned a seat in the semifinals and a berth for next year’s World Cup on Friday in Doha, Qatar.
Kieffer Alas put on a signature performance, tallying 29 points on 11-for-25 shooting, nine rebounds, and three assists. He was backstopped by Joaquin Ludovice who drilled three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points and two steals.
The national team was down by 10 points at halftime before Alas took over. The do-it-all guard scored 14 of Gilas’ 21 points in the pivotal period to lead the comeback. The Philippines was able to hold off Japan in the final frame.
Kurt Velasquez chipped in with 10 points and was a disruptive force on the defensive end as he nabbed five steals. The defense was key for Gilas as they held Japan to 32.5 percent shooting from the field, including 3-for-30 from beyond the arc.
With a seat in the top four of the tournament, the Philippines secured a slot in the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup next year in Turkey.
Gilas will take on Australia in the semifinals on Sunday, 12:30 AM (Manila time).