By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The youngsters of the Gilas Pilipinas Under-16 national team banked on a momentum-shifting third quarter to take down Kazakhstan, 66-42, in the ongoing FIBA U-16 Asian Championship last September 19, 2023, held at the Al-Rayyan Indoor Hall in Doha, Qatar.
Gilas was eager to clinch the win against Kazakhstan after opening their FIBA U-16 campaign with a loss to China and avoid a 0-2 hole.
It was the national team’s lights-out third frame that changed the whole complexion of the game. From a 33-all deadlock, Gilas suddenly found their stroke from downtown and torched Kazakhstan in the remaining four minutes heading into the fourth quarter.
Kicked off by Noah Banal who sank a triple to break the tie, Bonn Daja then followed it up with another trifecta to give Gilas a six-point lead.
After their back-to-back threes, the rest of the boys then stepped up to the challenge and capped off the third quarter with a 14-0 scoring run to open the fourth with a double-digit advantage.
Kazakhstan was still able to fight and counter Gilas’ scoring rally after trimming their deficit to just seven points but another late three-point barrage officially fended off the Kazakhs in the last three minutes of the ball game.
From a cold shooting in the first half, Gilas turned it up in the last two quarters and buried five of their six shots from the rainbow area in the crucial third quarter.
Kieffer Alas led the Gilas boys after putting up an impressive double-double performance of 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Joaquin Ludovice also stepped up for the young Gilas squad and dropped 11 markers backstopped by Daja who chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.