Batang Gilas may have failed to make a deep run in the FIBA U-17 Basketball World Cup, but there’s a reason to believe the future of Philippine basketball is in good hands.
The Philippines had a lackluster showing in the group stages and finished dead last in Group D that featured Croatia, Argentina and eventual finalist France. However, the Philippines’ performance in the classification games that saw them win back-to-back matches is enough reason to be optimistic.
Batang Gilas ended the competition 13th overall, which is the country’s all-time best record after finishing 15th in 2014.
Here’s how every member of the nationals performed in the tournament.
Forthsky Padrigao (guard)
Tournament stats: 2.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 13.7 percent shooting in 19.1 minutes per game
It’s safe to say the 16-year-old Padrigao has a lot of work to do to keep up with other point guards in the international scene. He was abysmal offensively and even had three games where he failed to register a single bucket.
Padrigao also had more turnovers (21) than points (20) in the tournament, though it’s worth noting that he came up big for the Philippines in their final game against New Zealand. He helped the country secure 13th place by tallying game-highs nine assists and six steals against the young Kiwis.
Terrence Fortea (guard)
Tournament stats: 7.0 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 30.9 percent shooting in 19.2 minutes per game
Once again, poor shooting marred Fortea’s stint with the national team. However, he has all the makings of an elite guard who, in time, is capable of lighting it up from beyond the arc. In fact, in their group stage game against Argentina, he registered 17 markers on 5-of-13 shooting from deep to top score the Philippines.
Gerry Abadiano (guard)
Tournament stats: 12.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 44.6 percent shooting in 22.9 minutes per game
One of the standout performers for the national team, Abadiano ranked second in the team in scoring, only behind Kai Sotto. He is also one of the most consistent scorers for the Philippines after scoring in double figures in four of seven games, including a 19-point explosion against Canada.
Abadiano still needs to improve his three-point shooting where he shot 21.1 percent throughout the tournament, but he can undoubtedly build from this spectacular showing.
Mclaude Guadana (center)
Tournament stats: 2.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 33.3 percent shooting in 13.2 minutes per game
Guadana’s production decreased as compared to his numbers in the U-16 Asian Championship. However, that can be attributed to the fact that his playing time dipped as well. He remains a solid scorer from inside the arc but needs to be more aggressive on the offensive end if he wants to develop into a solid inside threat.
Jose Miguel Pascual (guard)
Tournament stats: 1.8 points, 1.0 rebounds, 50.0 percent shooting in 4.2 minutes per game.
As the team’s third-string point guard behind Padrigao and Fortea, Pascual never really had a genuine shot at showing his goods. He played sparingly in four games, though he displayed potential against Mali and recorded seven points (on 3-of-5 shooting) and two rebounds in eight minutes of play.
RC Calimag (forward)
Tournament stats: 4.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 24.5 percent shooting in 19.2 minutes per game
Clearly, Calimag has yet to regain his rhythm after missing some time out due to a knee injury that he sustained in their Asian Championship quarterfinal against Japan. He wasn’t able to crack the double-digit mark despite featuring in all of their games in the FIBA World Cup, though we all know what the forward out of De La Salle-Zobel is capable of.
For now, it seems Calimag must focus on returning to fitness to rediscover the form that everybody saw in the U-16 tournament.
Yukien Andrada (forward)
Tournament stats: 2.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 28.0 percent shooting in 17.0 minutes per game
Andrada struggled to find the bottom of the net in Argentina, and his 28 percent shooting (7-of-25) is proof of that. He was largely ineffective in their first four games before putting up 10 points, four boards and three steals against Mali.
That was also the only time that he shot better than 25 percent from the field, which calls for a better shot selection and three-point shooting.
Carl Tamayo (forward)
Tournament stats: 10.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 31.5 percent shooting in 23.7 minutes per game
It’s a pity Batang Gilas first-timer Carl Tamayo didn’t suit up for the squad in their final two games. He finished third in scoring and second in rebounding for the Philippines, even bagging a double-double (19 points and 10 boards) against powerhouse France.
He is already a force to be reckoned on the defensive glass and could become a more efficient floor spacer if he develops a solid outside shot.
Joshua Lazaro (forward)
Tournament stats: 1.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 15.4 percent shooting in 13.1 minutes per game
Lazaro is a valuable big man who can grab boards when necessary, but he hasn’t improved offensively and actually saw his numbers take a plunge. He showed great effort on the defensive end, though stronger opposition limited his ability to make stops.
But seriously, Lazaro has plenty of work to do considering that he only made a shot in their game against Canada while the others are all from the charity stripe.
Shaun Geoffrey Chiu (center)
Tournament stats: 2.0 points, 1.2 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 85.7 percent shooting in 10.1 minutes per game
Much like Pascual, Chiu is way behind the pecking order. He wasn’t given enough playing time and only saw significant minutes in their blowout of New Zealand. He did grab the opportunity against the Kiwis, though, banking eight points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Raven Cortez (forward)
Tournament stats: 7.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 62.5 percent shooting in 19.5 minutes per game
Cortez played well and was one of the most consistent talents in the Batang Gilas squad. Although he posted a dud in 10 minutes of play against France, he made up for it by averaging 10 points and almost five boards in three straight games against Mali, Canada and Egypt.
He has the second-highest efficiency rating in the team and has looked like the second-best player most of the time. He was pivotal in the country’s first tournament win against Egypt, during which he notched 10 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.
Kai Sotto (center)
Tournament stats: 16.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 2.3 blocks, 47.2 percent shooting in 28.9 minutes per game
Sotto turned heads once again as he helped Batang Gilas finish the tournament on a high note. The 7-foot-1 center displayed massive potential, using his height and high basketball IQ to overcome bigger and more athletic opponents.
Even NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony took notice of the country’s brightest young star and pointed his raw talent.
First live look at much-hyped 7'1 16-year old Kai Sotto from the Philippines. Easy to see the talent, but also how far he has to go in terms of toughness, intensity, strength and polish. Hasn't had a great tournament so far. Will have to find the right place to develop long term. pic.twitter.com/O1nqyQjxTZ
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 7, 2018
The Ateneo product’s worst performance was against France when he was plagued with foul trouble, but he erased that in everyone’s memory with an epic back-to-back performance in their final two games.
Sotto banked a game-high 28 points and 17 rebounds to propel Batang Gilas to a 70-69 win over the Egyptians before closing the curtains against New Zeland with a 22-point, 10-rebound outing.