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Gilas rally falls short as Japan enters FIBA U16 Asia QF's

Yuto Kawashima shows some emotion after making a basket. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Japan survived a late run from Gilas Pilipinas to take a 73-67 win on the final day of the FIBA U16 Asian Championship group stages on Tuesday at the Al-Gharafa Sports Club Multi-Purpose Hall in Doha.

Japan's solid defense on Gilas in the first three quarters, in which the latter was held to just 38 points after 30 minutes, was just enough for the former to clinch the win even if the latter threatened late in the game.

Japan was holding to a 69-57 lead with 3:29 to play in the fourth quarter when Gilas launched a 10-2 run to cut the gap to just four, 71-67, with 33 seconds left.

Gilas then forced a stop on the other end, leaving them with 15.2 seconds to complete the comeback, but Alex Konov missed an open triple that could have trimmed the lead to one and Eijiro Ogawa scored the dagger basket right after it.

Yuto Kawashima exploded for 26 points with 18 rebounds and three assists for Japan, which topped Group C and clinched an outright quarterfinal berth, moving them to within a win from qualifying for the FIBA U17 World Championship later this year.

Leon Watanabe added 16 points, nine rebounds, one steal, and one block.

Caelum Harris made 18 markers, six rebounds, one assist, two steals, and one block for Gilas, which will need to face Kazakhstan on Thursday in the first round of the playoffs for the right to face outright quarterfinalist Australia in the next round.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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