Gilas Pilipinas Youth let a golden opportunity slip away, falling to New Zealand in heart-breaking fashion, 70-76 in the final game day of the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece.
The Philippines were enjoying a 3-point lead with 73 seconds to go when everything went on a downward spiral, as the team settled for 14th place in the 16-nation field.
Gilas fell behind by 8, 37-45 late in the 2nd quarter but made their comeback run in the following frame.
Dalph Panopio and Carl Tamayo joined hands as the Philippines fought back, with Tamayo’s trey giving them a 58-53 lead.
From there, it was a back-and-forth battle for the two Asia-Pacific sides. Baskets by Tamayo and Dave Ildefonso made it 68-63 for the nationals halfway into the 4th period.
But just when Gilas thought they would finish the tournament on back to back wins, New Zealand went on a strong finishing kick to steal the win.
After Ildefonso hit 2/2 from the foul line, Oscar Oswald knocked down a triple to tie it at 70-all with 1:13 left.
Flynn Cameron gave New Zealand the lead under the final minute, although Gilas still had a chance after a missed lay-up by Kruz Perrott-Hunt with 19 seconds left.
After a timeout however, Gerry Abadiano missed a potential game-tying floater, which then led to a Cameron rebound.
Tamayo was then slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul with 9 ticks to go, as Cameron sealed the win with 4 straight free throws.
Tamayo topscored with 24 points on 10/16 shooting while hitting 4 long-range shots, the 2nd consecutive game he’s gone on a superb performance for the Philippines. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Panopio and Ildefonso both finished with 16 markers. Cameron led the Kiwis with 21 points, with two others scoring in double-figures.