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Batang Gilas shocks China

Batang Gilas celebrate upset win over China

Batang Gilas celebrate upset win over China

By Kristel Satumbaga

They’re indeed the future of Philippine basketball.

Members of Batang Gilas reinforced their status as the rightful heirs as they toppled powerhouse China, 73-63, to advance outright to the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship Tuesday night at the Studio 29 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Combining grit, speed and size, the Nationals proved just equal to the Chinese, coming through with huge baskets and defensive stops at crunch time to complete a three-game sweep of Group B elims.

National University rookie Sean Ildefonso showed steely nerves while AJ Edu and Kai Sotto were pillars of strength in the shaded area as Gilas handed the Chinese a rare defeat.

Ildefonso, son of two-time PBA MVP Danny Ildefonso, put on a solid all-around performance with 18 points and seven rebounds while Edu and Sotto combined for 24 points, 24 rebounds and nine blocks against the country’s long-time tormentors.

After shattering a 12-all count, it was all Batang Gilas show from there on, repulsing repeated rallied of the Chinese.

Dalph Panopio also made good account of himself, posting 12 points and eight rebounds while Miguel Oczon added 11, including a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw area.

The country’s win over China was a fitting follow up to its wins over Lebanon, 75-53, and United Arab Emirates, 92-49.
The Nationals will face either Bahrain or Chinese Taipei.

The Filipinos shot an impressive 43.90 percent on the field compared to China’s 26.80 percent. They also have shot blocks, 10-1.
The country has won six titles so far in this tournament, but its last was 36 years ago – also against China.