BAHRAIN yesterday went down fighting to Asian powerhouse the Philippines 52-67 in the quarter-finals of the FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship in Thailand.
The Bahrainis enjoyed an eight-point half-time lead against their heavily favoured opponents but eventually succumbed to the continental giants.
Bahrain will now play for fifth to eighth place classification. They take on Japan in their penultimate game today and then face either with Iran or South Korea to determine their final ranking.
Bahrain began yesterday’s contest chasing their Southeast Asian rivals, who built a comfortable 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second, Bahrain faced a double-digit deficit, 13-26, but suddenly came alive and slowly closed the huge gap.
The solid defence put up by Rashed Awadh, Baqer Ali, Mustafa Rashed and Ali Rashed frustrated the Filipinos and after an Awadh lay-up with four minutes 39 seconds remaining in the half, Bahrain went ahead for the first time, 27-26.
Bahrain closed the quarter strongly, not allowing the Philippines to further add to their score while firing in another seven unanswered points for a surprising 34-26 advantage. Unfortunately for the Bahrainis, any momentum they gained in the first two periods was quickly lost in the third.
The Philippines finally found their groove and spearheaded by the towering Kai Sotto and AJ Edu tied the proceedings at 36-apiece in less than four minutes.
Things stayed close and Ali buried a three-pointer to tie it again at 43-all with two minutes to go in the third quarter which ended in the Filipinos’ favour 48-45.
The Philippines began to pull away early in the final canto, stretching their lead to 55-45 midway through while Bahrain were unable to find an answer. The Filipinos outscored Bahrain 19-7 in the fourth quarter to seal the 15-point win.
Awadh and Ali paced the Salman Ramadhan-coached Bahrainis with 13 points apiece with Awadh also accouting for nine rebounds and Ali burying three three-pointers. Mustafa Rashed chipped in with 11 and Ali Rashed nine.
Sotto top scored for the Filipinos with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Edu had 16 points and 17 rebounds.
The Filipinos move on to face Australia in the semi-finals while New Zealand and China clash in the other final four contest.