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Energen seeks semis vs Korea
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - August 24, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Energen Pilipinas hopes to hurdle a tall South Korean side tonight at the start of the quarterfinal round of the 22nd FIBA Asia Under-18 Championship at the Buyant Ukhaa Arena in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

The Filipinos survived Bahrain, 99-72, but ended up third in their group after Chinese Taipei stunned Iran, 78-77, in overtime last Wednesday.

The win lined up the Energen youth against the dreaded Koreans, who finished second in the other bracket following a 102-107 loss to the mighty Chinese, also in overtime.

“I haven’t seen a Korean youth team this big... they’re almost as tall as China,” said Energen Pilipinas coach Olsen Racela.

Although Smart Gilas II rallied to edge South Korea in the Jones Cup a couple of days ago in Taiwan, the Phl has had a string of heartbreakers against the SoKor national teams, including a 58-67 defeat Racela’s charges suffered in the second FIBA-Asia U16 tilt in Vietnam last year.

Racela was also part of an all-pro Phl squad that blew what had appeared to be a won match in the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

Another all-pro team, the Powerade Pilipinas, took an 80-82 setback to drop to seventh place in the 2009 FIBA-Asia Championship in Tianjin, China.

The Phl also dropped 66-74 quarterfinal loss in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, the 70-78 defeat in the elimination round of the 2011 Jones Cup in Chinese Taipei and the 68-70 setback for the bronze in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China by the Smart Gilas Pilipinas.

The other quarters duels pit Chinese Taipei, which Energen beat, 88-83, in the group stages, against Japan, Iran, which routed the Phl, 92-73, versus Lebanon and defending champion China against Saudi Arabia.         

ALTHOUGH SMART GILAS ASIA CHAMPIONSHIP BUSAN ASIAN GAMES BUYANT UKHAA ARENA CHINESE TAIPEI ENERGEN ENERGEN PILIPINAS GUANGZHOU ASIAN GAMES JONES CUP PHL
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