By REYNALD MAGALLON
The Gilas Pilipinas boys team got its World Cup bid back on track, venting its ire on Kazakhstan, 66-42, in the FIBA Asia U16 Asian Championship early Tuesday. Sept. 19 at the Al-Rayyan Indoor Hall in Doha, Qatar.
Avoiding making the same mistakes it did in the opening day loss to China, the Nationals made sure to come out strong in the second half en route to the 24-point victory and its first win of the tournament.
Trailing 25-30 at the break, Gilas shone in the second half particularly in the third frame where it showed its defensive fangs and limited the Kazakhs to a measly three points in the quarter while exploding for 22 on the offensive end.
When the dust settled the Filipinos already established a double-digit spread, 47-33, heading into the final period. Kazakhstan managed to cut the deficit back to single digits, 49-42, but Gilas went on a back-breaking 17-0 run that ultimately shook off the hard-fighting Kazakhs.
At the forefront of the attack for the Filipinos was Kiefer Alas who put up a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Joaquin Ludovice provided ample support with 11 points while Bon Ervin Daja added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Alisher Muratuly was the lone bright spot for Kazakhstan with 15 points and nine rebounds but not enough to prevent his team from absorbing its second-straight defeat.
Gilas hopes to punch its ticket to the knockout round when it takes on Southeast Asian rival Malaysia on Wednesday, Sept. 20.