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Batang Gilas ousted by Japan in FIBA Asia U16 quarters

By Ivan Saldajeno

JAKARTA--Batang Gilas' streak of FIBA Asia U16 Championship semis stints came to an end at three after the team suffered a 66-73 defeat to Japan in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 edition at the Britama Arena on Thursday night.

Japan opened the game on a 15-0 run behind the hot hands of Yudai Nishida, and the team appeared to be heading to a smooth sailing to a Final Four showdown against Chinese Taipei on Friday.

But S.J. Belangel led Batang Gilas' fourth quarter charge, cutting Japan's lead which went to as high as 20 to as low as seven, the last at 73-66 with 1:32 remaining.

It turned out to be Batang Gilas' last hurrah as the team never scored from there, letting Japan, which was actually held scoreless in the last 4:37 of the game, escape with the win.

Nishida finished with 20 points along with eight rebounds and one assist, while Taiga Kagitomi added 16 markers, six boards, three dimes, and one steal.

Belangel also ended up with 20 points along with rebounds, five assists, and one steal for Batang Gilas in a game where Gian Mamuyac, who sizzled against China on Tuesday, was limited to only two points on 1-of-12 shooting.

Batang Gilas was relegated to the 5-8 classification phase for the first time after making the Final Four in the first three stagings of the tournament, the most recent leading the team to the 2013 championship game and a spot in the FIBA U17 Championship last year.

Box Scores:

Japan 73-Nishida 20, Kagitomi 16, Takahara 12, Ito 6, Hachimura 5, Mimori 4, Miyamoto 4, Nakata 3, Tsuchiya 2, Tsuneta 1

Philippines 66-Belangel 20, Credo 11, Pagsanjan 9, Ildefonso 8, Tibayan 8, Gozum 6, Mamuyac 2, Gomez De Liano 2, Lagumen 0, Flores 0, Publico 0

Quarterscores: 23-9, 46-30, 63-45, 73-66

Follow the writer on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno