Stellazzurra Basketball Academy Rome failed to hold a 10-point fourth quarter lead and lost to Real Madrid 87-82 in the final of the Szent Istvan Basketball Cup 2017 in Hungary.

Stellazzurra won their first three games of the designated U16 tournament – though there were plenty of 2000-born players – in knocking off Hungary’s U16 national team, Barcelona and Cibona Zagreb.

But Real Madrid prevailed in a tough battle in the final with Golden Dike winning MVP honors as he collected 17 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks and 11 fouls drawn. Raul Lopez added 16 points and Mario Nakic collected 15 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Stellazzurra got 27 points and 11 rebounds from Paul Eboua while Dalph Panopio chipped in 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals in the loss.

The Roman-born son of parents from Philippines hit a layup to give Stellazzurra their final lead at 79-77 after wasting a 67-57 advantage as Madrid went ahead 77-76.

Panopio was excellent throughout the tournament as he averaged 12 points a game while shooting 63 percent from the field and 88 percent from the free throw line. He also averaged 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.75 steals in 31 minutes.

Panopio has been with the Stellazzurra since he was 6 years old at the minibasket level and then entered the academy at 13 years of age.

He hopes to play for the Philippines Gilas one day as well.

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