Philippines rallies to beat Israel in thrilling FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup opening win

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By Julian Reyes

MANILA--The Philippines under-18 3x3 team rallied late in the game to pull the rug underneath Israel, 19-17, for a rousing debut in the 2017 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup at the New Century Global Center earlier today.

Down by three, 11-14, with more than three minutes left, the Philippines uncorked a finishing 8-3 run to snatch victory from the pesky Israel side and take an early lead in the Pool A.

Miguel Gomez De Liaño and 6-foot-10 AJ Edu sparked the seventh-seeded Philippines' comeback as their defense shut the fiery Israel's gunners down when it mattered most.

De Liaño finished with six points, including four in that crucial run late in the game, while Edu imposed his will down low to finish with four points and four blocks.

5-foot-11 Encho Serrano also provided the energy needed by the Philippines with his athleticism fearlessly attacking Israel's inside defense to come up with seven points.

Tamir Schiller sizzled from beyond the arc, hitting four 2-pointers en route to a game-high 10 points. The 18-year old guard pulled Israel to within one, 17-18, with less than 10 seconds left, but Edu cleared the board off De Liaño's miss and hit a putback to put the nail in the coffin.

The seventh-seed Philippines (1-0) meet top-seed Netherlands (1-0) later at 8:10 p.m.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @julianrcreyes