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YOUNG GUNS — Gilas Youth bags W. C. ticket

Kieffer Alas again led the Philippines, flirting with a double-double of 29 points behind an 11-of-25 shooting clip and nine rebounds.

Kieffer Alas and the Gilas Youth squad score a breakthrough 64-59 win over Japan to earn a trip to the FIBA U17 World Cup next year in Turkey. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FIBA

Gilas Youth booked a slot for the 2024 FIBA U17 World Cup in Turkey after a 64-59 win over Japan early Saturday in the quarterfinal of the FIBA U16 Asian Championship at the Al-Gharafa Sports Club Multi-Purpose Hall in Doha, Qatar.

The Philippines will join Australia, New Zealand and China next year in the U17 World Cup as only the semifinalists of the tournament will be granted passage to Turkey.

With Japan closing in, 59-60, with one minute and 59 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Bonn Daja sank back-to-back jumpers to get the job done.

Like in its 95-71 win over South Korea last Friday, Gilas relied on the shaded area, scoring 44 points inside the paint and hammering 15 second chance points despite only grabbing seven offensive rebounds.

Kieffer Alas again led the Philippines, flirting with a double-double

of 29 points behind an 11-of-25 shooting clip and nine rebounds.

Joaquin Gabriel Ludovice scored 11 points for Gilas Youth while Kurt Velasquez dropped 10.

Shogo Takata had 12 points for Japan.

The Philippines is currently playing against Australia as of press time in the semifinal.

A win over the Australians will send Gilas Youth to its first FIBA 16 Asian Championship final since the 2013 edition where the likes of then-rising stars Paul Desiderio, Diego Dario and brothers Mike and Matt Nieto snagged a silver medal.

The last time the Philippines qualified for the World Cup was back in the 2018 edition in Foshan, China when the likes of Raven Cortez, Geo Chiu, Joshua Lazaro and Kai Sotto did the trick and made it as far as the semifinal.

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