Batang Gilas falters vs China, fails to book FIBA Asia U16 finals ticket
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Batang Gilas will not see action in the championship of the 2018 FIBA U16 Asian Championships following a 54-60 loss to China in the semifinals at the Lingnan Mingzhu Gymnasium in Foshan, China, Saturday, April 7.
Kai Sotto dominated anew with another 20-20 performance of 26 points, 21 rebounds, and 6 blocks but it was not enough for the Philippines to hand China its first loss of the tournament.
The Filipinos, who trailed by 12 points heading into the payoff period, 36-48, slowly clawed their way back into the contest and eventually narrowed the gap to just 3 points following back-to-back baskets from Sotto and Terrence John Fortea, 52-55.
However, a Haoquin Sun and one-play gave China a comfortable 60-53 lead with just 32.8 seconds remaining as Batang Gilas ran out of time for a last-ditch comeback attempt after Sotto split his freebies with 8.1 ticks remaining.
Fortea was the only other Filipino to finish in double figures with 18 points and 9 rebounds. The other remaining 8 Batang Gilas players who saw action combined for just 10 points.
Despite the loss, the Philippines is already assured of a spot in the FIBA U17 World Cup in Argentina, which will be held from June to July 8.
Sun showed way for China with 22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals while 3 other players combined for 26 points in the win.
China will face Australia in the championship game. Batang Gilas, meanwhile, seeks to end its campaign in fine fashion as they lock horns with New Zealand in the battle-for-3rd clash on Sunday, April 8.
China (60): Sun 22, Saimati 10, Aizimaiti 8, Lu 8, Chen 4, Li 3, Qu 3, Yang 2, Jiao 0
Philippines (54): Sotto 26, Fortea 18, Cortez 4, Guadaña 4, Andrada 2, Padrigao 0, Balaga 0, Bautista 0, Chiu 0, Lazaro 0
Quarter scores: 16-15, 32-29, 48-36, 60-54