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Batang Gilas loses to taller Aussies

 

By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA

 

A differing kind of mauling took place in last night’s game between the Philippines and Australia.

Batang Gilas kissed its title bid goodbye after succumbing to powerhouse Australia, 77-43, in the semifinals of the FIBA Under 18 Asian Championship at the Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

The Philippine Youth squad never recovered from a one-sided second quarter where they were outscored, 30-8, and trailed 44-20 at the half.

The Filipino dribblers sank deeper in the third where they managed only eight points.

Nobody from the Nationals scored in double figures with AJ Edu and Gerry Abadiano finishing nine and eight points. Kai Sotto was limited to two points and consoled himself with eight rebounds, underscoring the Aussies’ defensive might.

Australia, ranked ninth in the world, displayed its inside strength by scoring 54 points in the paint compared to the Filipinos’ 24.

Despite the loss, it was the best finish in decades for the Nationals since the country placed fourth in the 1990 edition in Nagoya, Japan.

The Filipinos lost to China, 96-93, in that battle for the bronze medal.

Despite the loss, the Philippines clinched a spot in next year’s FIBA U-19 Basketball World Cup.

The tournament, however, is not yet over for Batang Gilas as it battles China for the bronze today at 1:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. in Manila) at the same venue.

The Nationals seek a repeat performance of their stunning 73-63 triumph against the Chinese in the group stage.

A bronze-medal finish will match the country’s performance in the 1992 edition held in Beijing, China where the Filipinos prevailed over Japan, 107-74, for third place.

Australia, meanwhile, meets fellow FIBA Oceania member New Zealand for the title after the Kiwis ousted China, 87-82.

 

 

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