GILAS Pilipinas Youth has fallen again, this time at the hands of world No. 9 Argentina.
But in defeat, the Filipinos showed they were a tough nut to crack.
The Filipinos' gutsy stand fell short, taking a 72-77 defeat from the Argentinians in the Fiba Under-19 World Cup on Monday (Manila time) at Heraklion University Sports Hall in Greece.
Lucas Reyes was the biggest thorn in the side of the Philippines, firing 11 of his 15 points in the payoff period, including four pressure-packed freebies in the final 22 seconds to hold off the Filipinos' late rally.
Dave Ildefonso led Gilas Youth with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Kai Sotto added 17 points, eight boards and six blocks.
Gerry Abadiano and James Spencer had nine points apiece for the Philippines, which played the game without Fil-Nigerian big man AJ Edu who is feared to have suffered a torn ACL and meniscus on his right knee in the opener against Greece.
Argentina looked poised to break away as it staged a 10-2 blast to open the fourth quarter, turning a close 58-51 lead to a 68-53 advantage, capped off by a booming trey from near-halfcourt courtesy of Lucas with 6:34 remaining.
But the Philippines did not go down without a fight, with Abadiano cutting the lead down to just four, 73-69, with a big triple in the last 33.6 seconds.
Reyes, though, had other plans as he proved to be poised from the charity stripe and sending the Filipinos to another defeat to fall to 0-2 in Group C.
The Philippines outrebounded the taller Argentina, 50-34, but turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 27 easy points for the Argentines.
Gilas Youth wraps up its Group C assignment against world No. 19 Russia on Wednesday (Manila time) at 1:30 a.m.
Marco Giordano paced Argentina with 18 points, three rebounds, and three assists, as Francisco Farabello got 15 points, four boards, three assists, and three steals.
Argentina 77 - Giordano 18, Farabello 15, Reyes 15, Caffaro 9, Ruesga 8, Marcos 5, Chapero 4, Fuente 3, Lugarini 0, Fernandez 0, Simondi 0.
Philippines 72 - Ildefonso 22, Sotto 17, Abadiano 9, Spencer 9, Tamayo 8, Amsali 4, Panopio 3, Torres 0, Chiu 0, Oczon 0, Fortea 0.
Quarterscores: 22-15; 39-32; 58-51; 77-72.