THE Philippines could not get over its Olympic jitters as its three-on-three basketball team of Fil-Am Bobby Ray Parks, Jeron Teng, Cris Michael Tolomia and Michael Pate was pushed on the brink after it absorbed its second straight loss, this time to Spain, 27-29, in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore Tuesday.

Unlike in a 28-34 loss to US Virgin Islands Monday, the Mon Jose-mentored Filipinos came out with more game as they fought back from an early 8-11 deficit by knotting the count at 11-11 and 16-16.

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RP even snatched a 21-20 lead late in the game before the Spanish squad of Luis Costa, Mikel Motos, Javier Medori and Francesc Pascual came throughto snatch the win out of the Filipinos' hands.

The Spanish win thus sent the Philippines to must-win games against Croatia today and South Africa tomorrow for it to have a chance to make it to the next phase.

RP chief de mission Mark Joseph blamed the loss to spotty officiating.

"Spain won by two points but lousy referees did not count two shots of ours but our guys did great," Joseph said.

Parks and Teng, sons of former PBA stars Bobby Sr. and Alvin, respectively, continued to pace the Filipinos with 15 and 10 points but they would need to step up big in their last two games if they want to stay in the medal hunt.

The Filipinos had a faltering start in the first two days of competition as netter Jeson Patrombon, taekwondo jin Kirk Barbosa and tankers Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi all fell by the wayside.

Lacuna, who wound up third in his heat early in the day to get the No. 7 ranking in the eight-man finale, drowned in the spotlight and finished eighth and dead last in his favorite event, the 200-meter freestyle swim.

The 16-year-old Lacuna timed in 1:51.95, slower than the 1:51.52 he registered in the morning trials, in the event topped by Russian Andre Ushakov, who clocked 1:49.81.

Jasmin Alkhaldi, for her part, missed the final cut after she ended up 12th among 16 semis qualifiers with a time of 58.01, which was an improvement on the 58.16 she clocked in the morning trials.

Alkhaldi though vies next in the 200m free Wednesday and then in the 50m free on Thursday, while Lacuna sees action in the 200m fly on Friday.

Patricia Llena hopes to end RP's heartbreaks as she shoots for a medal in the 63-kilogram division of the weightlifting being conducted at press time last night at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall.

The 16-year-old former powerlifting world champion will face tough opposition from Russia, Turkey, USA, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Australia and Mexico.