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Euro champion beats Batang Gilas by 41

By Jerome Lagunzad

Game Tomorrow
(Newell’s Old Boys Stadium)
7:30 a.m. — Batang Gilas
vs Argentina

Batang Gilas made a gallant stand early on but struggled to keep in step with European titleholder France in the second half yesterday, leading to a numbing 95-54 setback in the 2018 FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Cup at the Newell’s Old Boys Stadium in Rosario, Argentina.

The 31st-seeded Nationals proved to be a tough nut to crack in the first half but crumbled when the seventh-ranked Frechmen pounded them with full might after the turn.

Malcom Cazalon led their telling run with a team-high 18 points and three rebounds while Matthie Gauzin added 16 markers and top NBA prospect Killian Hayes tallied 14 points, the same output of Theo Maledon, for France which improved to 2-0 and gained a share of the Group D lead with fellow European powerhouse Croatia.

Big man Carl Tamayo had an impressive double-double showing of 19 points and 10 rebounds on top of two assists while fellow National University standout Gerry Abadiano added 17 points that all went down the drain with the Nationals’ second straight setback.

Towering center Kai Zachary Sotto, who had a solid debut performance with 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in their 97-75 loss to the Croatians last Sunday, groped for form against the Frenchmen’s collapsing defense which limited him down to just seven points on five attempts and six rebounds in 23 minutes of play.

For the second straight time, the Nationals’ designated snipers also could not find the mark from beyond the arc as they missed all but two of their 18 attempts. They also failed to protect the leather, turning it 21 times, 11 more than the Frenchmen.

However, things looked promising in the first half where the Nationals even enjoyed a 21-17 lead off Tamayo’s four straight points—first, a completed three-point play followed by a split from the 15-foot line after being fouled by French defender Victor Diallo—with two minutes into the second quarter.