JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia—Iran once more demonstrated why it has become a rising power in basketball as their Under-16 team ended the Philippines’ fairy tale campaign 83-73 in overtime, to cop the second runner-up of the Fiba Asia U-16 Men’s Championship Friday night at the Bandaraya Stadium here.
After back-up slotman Jeoffey Javillonar missed a relatively easy undergoal stab in regulation, the Iranians came back with 13 unanswered points to snatch the third-place trophy.
In the championship match, China walloped Korea, 104-69, to win the title of this inaugural tourney that sends both teams to the Fiba World U-17 Men’s Championship in Hamburg, Germany next year.
It was the second heart-breaking loss to Iran by the team since winning twice in the 2nd Nokia Invitational Cup in Cebu City recently. Iran clobbered Team Pilipinas in the quarterfinals, 76-70, sending the Filipinos to an impossible mission of beating China in the semifinals.
The Filipinos lost a chance for a better finish after being overmatched by the Chinese in the semifinals, 66-85, and to the Iranians in the battle for third. But fourth place is a huge achievement for the young and talented squad.
With its big men in foul trouble, Iran found itself in a deep six-point hole, 61-67, in the last 3:58 mark of the final period, giving the Filipinos a good shot at winning the bronze medal.
Sajjad Mashayekhi fought back and ignited a 9-4 Iranian rally to square the count at 70 and set the stage for the Filipinos’ final play with only 13.1 seconds left.
Kiefer Ravena had 18 points, four rebounds and four steals while wingmen Von Pessumal, Dan Sara and Angelo Alolino connived for 34 points to offset the Filipinos’ dismal rebounding after Jeron Teng, Paolo Romero and Kevin Ferrer got tangled in early foul trouble.
“It could have been a different story had we controlled the rebounds down the stretch,” Altamirano said, noting the rebounding picture where the Iranians had 52 while the Filipinos had only 34. “It’s still a good game, I’m proud of the boys. They played the way I want it to be.”
Yousefi Soheil led Iran with 18 points while the frontline tandem of Mir Fattahi and Amir Sedighi combined for 29 points and 29 rebounds despite being hobbled with foul trouble.
Iran 83 - Soheil 18, Fattahi 17, Faghihparvar 16, Mashayekhi 13, Sedighi 12, Ojaghi 7, Abediaraei 0, Khademnamdari 0, Taherikoladooz 0, Monji 0, Behzadi 0, Zangeneh 0
Philippines 73 - Ravena 18, Pessumal 13, Sara 11, Alolino 10, Teng 8, Javillonar 7, Ferrer 2, Pate 2, Tolomia 2, Bantayan 0, Romero 0
Quarter scoring: 12-15, 37-31, 56-53, 70-70, 83-73