MANILA, Philippines – The newcomers starred as Batang Gilas kicked off its campaign in the FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship with a dominant 75-53 win over Lebanon at Nonthaburi, Thailand on Sunday, August 5.
Filipino-Nigerian reinforcement AJ Edu proved to be as good as advertised in his 5-on-5 Gilas debut, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Dalph Panopio, a Filipino-Italian point guard, was no slouch in his Philippine team debut either, chipping in 12 points, 6 assists, 4 boards and 3 steals.
NU rookie Dave Ildefonso, meanwhile, had a game-high 19 points, all coming from the first half.
With 6:55 left in the final frame, Edu was left open in the corner and promptly drained a 3-pointer to put Batang Gilas up by 23 points, 66-43.
Lebanon was not able to stop the bleeding down the stretch as Batang Gilas coasted to an easy victory.
Alexander Zanbaka paced Lebanon with 12 points and 5 boards.
Lebanon got as close as two points, 31-33, midway through the second quarter. However, Ildefonso dashed all their hopes with a personal 8-2 run off two straight long bombs to end the half up 8, 41-33. Edu flashed his all-around skillset in the second half, and the rest was history for Lebanon.
Philippines (75) – Ildefonso 19, Edu 17, Panopio 12, Sotto 12, Amsali 5, Ramirez 5, Cortez 2, Chiu 2, Abadiano 1, Lina 0, Oczon 0, Torres 0
Lebanon (53) – Zanbaka 12, Kopaly 9, Dargham 7, Kasab 6, Bedikian 6, Htait 5, Khoueiry 3, Khayat 2, Mougharbel 2, Saade 1, Karime 0, Samaha 0
Quarter scores: 25-15, 41-33, 59-41, 75-53