FIBA U16 Asian Championship: Kieffer Alas explodes as Gilas Youth pips Japan to clinch FIBA U17 World Cup spot

Kieffer Alas was in tears of joy after he led Gilas Youth to a place in the FIBA U17 World Cup. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDAUE--Kieffer Alas willed Gilas Pilipinas Youth especially in the second half to take down Japan, 64-59, in the quarterfinals of the FIBA U16 Asian Championship early Saturday (Philippine Time) in Doha.

The youngest son of current Zamboanga coach Louie Alas fired 29 points to lead Gilas Youth, but in a game where the team only had a total of 10 assists, his late dimes helped the team seal the win.

Held to only nine points in the second quarter and down, 35-25, at halftime, Gilas Youth outscored Japan, 21-10, in the third quarter to take a 46-45 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Alas had 14 points in the third period, outscoring the entire Japanese squad by himself.

Gilas Youth tried to pull away sooner after opening a 60-55 lead with 3:04 remaining in the final quarter, but back-to-back layups drew Japan to within one, 60-59, with 1:59 to go.

Alas, though, found Bonn Daja open inside twice for back-to-back baskets in the next two Gilas Youth plays to help put Japan away.

Alas came close to a double-double as he also grabbed nine rebounds alongside three assists, one steal, and one block, while Joaquin Ludovice added 11 points, three rebounds, one assist, and two steals for Gilas Youth, which clinched a place in the FIBA U17 World Cup in the process.

Gilas Youth battles Australia early Sunday (Philippine Time) in the semifinals of the FIBA U16 Asian Championship.

Shogo Takata made 12 markers and two rebounds, while Ginga Sembo and Kenichiro Benedict each added 10 points with Benedict also grabbing 14 boards for Japan.

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