MANILA – The Philippines made an early exit in its favorite sport on Wednesday as the three-on-three basketball team fell to the hands of title contender Croatia in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

Weightlifter Patricia Llena, the country’s flag bearer, also faltered in the 63 kg class after wounding up fifth at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall Tuesday night.

But 6-foot-3 Tomislva Grubisic, 6-foot-5 Matej Buovac, 6-foot-7 Marko Ramljak and 6-foot-8 Stipe Krstanovic made a scorching 8-0 run to crash the hopes of the Filipino trio and register Serbia’s second win in three starts.

The Filipinos had a discouraging start in the first two days of competition as netter Jeson Patrombon, taekwondo jin Kirk Barbosa fell by the wayside.

With this, the nine-man delegation trained its sights on swimmers Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi for possible medals.

Lacuna, who finished eighth in the 200m freestyle, will compete in the 50m fly while Alkhaldi, who made it only as far as the semifinals of the 100m free, will have two more chances to grab a medal in the 200m and 50m free.(Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)