The Gilas Pilipinas Youth team scrambled past the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 67-66, in its final tune-up game Thursday evening at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City before departing for a pocket tournament in Doha, Qatar.
Kai Sotto paced the national team with 14 points, including two highlight slams during the 2nd period, while frontcourt buddy AJ Edu added 9.
The team had its last practice Friday before it left for Doha.
Gilas Youth lost a 12-point lead, 63-51, with 5 minutes left in the game as the Tamaraws were able to cut it down to 1 with 18.3 seconds remaining.
Dave Ildefonso had a chance to give the nationals more breathing space but muffed both his free throws to give their opponent an opportunity to steal the game.
Ken Tuffin, however, missed on the potential game-winner as time expired.
Apart from the dominating presence of Sotto and Edu, Xyrus Torres also impressed with his 14-point performance.
The team is in the midst of preparations for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup which will be held on June 29 to July 7 in Heraklion, Greece.