MANILA, Philippines – Although Batang Gilas gave a good fight early, the Philippine basketball youth team again bowed down to a much superior France squad, 95-54, at the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Rosario, Argentina on Monday morning, July 2 (Manila time).
Carl Tamayo drew an and-one to start the second quarter and gave Gilas its first lead of the World Cup, 20-17, before 7-foot-1 star Kai Sotto split his two free throws in the next possession to make it 21-17.
However, turnovers again hounded the Filipino side which translated to a 15-3 French run, 32-23, that ended with dunk from 6-foot-6 shooting guard Malcolm Cazalon as France held on all the way.
Tamayo turned up to be the bright spot for the floundering Batang Gilas squad, finishing with a team-high double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds.
His National University (NU) Bullpups teammate Gerry Abadiano woke up in this game and chipped in 17 points of his own.
Sotto – who dropped 23 points and 12 rebounds in the Philippines’ 97-75 opening loss to Croatia a day earlier – was limited to 7 points and 6 boards before fouling out with 6:31 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
France grabbed the Group D lead with a 2-0 record as the Philippines absorbed its second straight loss.
While Batang Gilas managed to compose themselves and end the first half just down 6, 32-38, they never again threatened the world’s 7th-ranked boys’ team as Cazalon led the second-half charge along with 6-foot-4 point guard and former U16 European MVP Killian Hayes.
Cazalon led France with a team-high 18 points. Matthieu Gauzin added 16 points, while Hayes and Theo Maledon scored 14 each.
The supersized French backcourt left their fingerprints all over their team’s 20-6 run to open the 3rd quarter and erect a 20-point lead, 58-38, which put Gilas away for good.
France led in almost all statistical departments, most notably in points off turnovers (24-9), fastbreak points (28-5), points in the paint (58-36) and bench points (40-10).
Gilas again registered more turnovers (21) than assists (8) and steals (4) combined, which contributed to their early demise after a promising start.
France (95) – Cazalon 18, Gauzin 16, Hayes 14, Maledon 14, Crusol 11, Carene 6, Eyango-Dingo 6, Thirouard-Samson 5, Miyem 3, Ebonkoli 2, Billon 0, Diallo 0.
Philippines (54) – Tamayo 19, Abadiano 17, Sotto 7, Calimag 4, Andrada 3, Guadana 3, Lazaro 1, Chiu 0, Padrigao 0, Pascual 0, Cortez 0, Fortea 0.
Quarter scores: 17-17, 38-32, 73-45, 95-54.