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Batang Gilas rips Singapore

by Waylon Galvez

Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
10 a.m. – Thailand vs Malaysia
12 n.n. – Batang Gilas vs Indonesia

Singapore’s Reuben Amado (right) fouls Batang Gilas’ Jose Pascual during the SEABA Under-16 match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Filipinos won, 108-42. (MB Photos | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Singapore’s Reuben Amado (right) fouls Batang Gilas’ Jose Pascual during the SEABA Under-16 match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Filipinos won, 108-42. (MB Photos | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Kai Sotto debuted in style for Batang Gilas as the tournament top seed cruised to a masterful 108-42 victory against Singapore at the start of the 2017 Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) U-16 Championship yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Sotto, the 6-foot-11 prospect from Ateneo High School, recorded 17 points in his first international competition as Batang Gilas began its title retention bid in this five-nation tournament in impressive fashion.

Sotto converted 7-of-13 from the field with five rebounds and three shot blocks in nearly 15 minutes of action.

“Masaya ako sa first game ko, maganda yung start namin, and lahat naman kami nag-enjoy. Maganda laro naming lahat,” said Sotto, the Rookie of the Year in the last UAAP season and son of former PBA player Ervin.

“Sobrang excited ako sa next game naming. Siguro dagdagan pa yung effort, tulungan pa sa team and improve pa namin,” added Sotto, whose field goals all came from the shaded area.

The national team also got solid contributions from other players as playmaker Rence Padrigao had 14 points, six assists and four steals, wingman Terrence Fortea added 14 points and eight rebounds, while forward Rafael Go had 11 points and seven boards.

The national team opened a 33-12 lead, and took a 30-point advantage at halftime break, 56-26.

The young Filipino dribblers delivered some highlight reels, like when Padrigao – likewise a product of Ateneo – delivered an over-the-head, no-look pass to Fortea for an easy layup.

Another play also involved Padrigao when he setup the lefty Sotto with a no-look pass that the 15-year-old converted. Fortea also had his moment when he scooped a shot after eluding the defense with an ‘Euro’ step move.

Overall, it was a remarkable performance by Batang Gilas and coach Mike Oliver was satisfied, particularly on the defensive end as the Nationals made 17 steals and forced the opposition to 33 turnovers.

The scores:
PHILIPPINES 108 – Sotto 17, Padrigao 14, Fortea 14, Go 11, Guadana 9, Pascual 9, Calimag 9, Lazaro 7, Lina 6, Cortez 6, Chiu 4, Tan 2.

SINGAPORE 42 – Teo TL 9, Tor 9, Li 4, Amado 4, Teo ZM 4, Chuabio 4, Chin 4, Soh 2, Tan 2, Lacsado 0, Razali 0, Lim 0.

Quarters: 33-12, 56-26, 84-35, 108-42.

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