Fired up by the play of their rising star, the Philippines came from behind to beat Japan 64-59.
The win not only locked up a place in the Semi-Finals for the Philippines but also a spot in the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup next year in Turkiye.
The game started out in favor of the Philippines as they blasted off to a 7-0 run. However, that lead didn’t last long as Japan ran back with a run of their own to overtake the lead. Japan continued to play to their form, and build up a lead as big as 10 points at half time.
Then, Kiefer Alas was welcomed to the stage.
The Philippines leading scorer was coming off a subpar scoring effort against Korea and had 7 points in the first half against Japan. In the third quarter, he completely took over the show, scoring 14 of the Philippines’ 21 points – outscoring Japan all by himself.
That was enough to get the Philippines back in the lead and after a back-and-forth ralley between the two teams, in addition to 8 more points from Alas, the Philippines held on to the lead for good.
Both teams struggled to connect on their shots in this game, especially from beyond the three-point range where Japan shot only 10 percent and the Philippines shot only 21.7 percent. However, it was the defensive effort from the Philippines that was disruptive enough to get Japan out of their rhythm.