After an impressive debut in the FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship against Lebanon, the promising Batang Gilas notched yet another dominant victory against an overmatch United Arab Emirates (UAE) squad, 92-43, inside the Bangkok Thai-Japan Youth Center in Thailand on Monday night.
The Filipino youngsters never allowed their counterparts to taste the lead for the entire 40 minutes, as they relied on the intimidating presence of their freakishly tall pillars, AJ Edu (16 points and 8 rebounds) and Kai Sotto (14 and 8).
Jumpstarted by their stellar team defense, Batang Gilas scored 10 unanswered points in the first two minutes of play and never looked back. The Philippine team outscored UAE in all four quarters and completely shut down their offense, allowing only 5 total points in the final canto.
Two other Gilas players finished in double figures in the 49-point drubbing, as Rhayyan Amsali and Xyrus Dane Torres contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Mohamed Alhashmi led UAE with 18 markers and 3 rebounds while Hamid Albreiki pitched in 11 points.
NUMBERS AND GAME NOTES
—Boasting one, if not the, tallest line-up in the tournament, the Philippine team took advantage of its height disparity by dominating the interior, posting a 66-26 margin in points in the paint. The team drilled half of its 2-pointers (23-44) for a 52 percent clip.
—Their effort on the boards also resulted in more second chance opportunities, seizing a commanding 40-22 lead. De La Salle-Zobel product Raven Cortez snagged 13 rebounds to go along with his 6 markers.
—Lack of ball movement doomed UAE against the pass-first Gilas team, who produced a total of 22 assists. Gerry Abadanio and Dalph Panopio paced the squad with 5 dimes each. UAE only had 6 assists as a unit.
—The Gilas team learned from its past miscues and significantly cut their turnovers by more than half. The team only committed 12 infractions last night, in contrast to the 27 turnovers against Lebanon.
—After misfiring on his first 6 attempts from the great beyond, streaky shooter Torres caught fire midway in the fourth period and knocked down four straight three-pointers.
—Sean Dave Ildefonso, the Gilas top-scorer in the Lebanon win with 19 points, was brought down to earth in this game. He only managed to produce 2 points after missing all three of his attempts from rainbow country and going 0-6 from the field.
—Batang Gilas will face their toughest test tonight at 6:45 pm when they face the formidable Chinese team. The winner will emerge as the leader of Group B and will clinch an automatic Quarterfinals berth in the tournament.
(Photo courtesy of FIBA)