Photo by PBA Media
MANILA, Philippines – Batang Gilas proved they are the kings of the SEABA Under-16 Championship after nipping Malaysia, 83-62, Thursday, May 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Philippines kept the win secured in the entire game as Malaysia held on to a 7-point from first until the third quarter, 40-47.
"Malaysia used their advantages against us which were their speed and outside shooting," said coach Mike Oliver. "In the second half, we reminded the players to lessen their three-point attempts if they don't have scores in the area and use our height advantage."
Towering center Kai Sotto put this into action as he scored three consecutive layups to start the second half while Christian Calimag released a trey to put team Philippines ahead, 53-42.
Batang Gilas then showed their dominance in the fourth quarter as they exploded a 10-0 run and sealed a huge 23-point advantage.
The pesky Malaysians displayed an all-out performance as they maintained their composure to achieve a 10-4 rally against the Philippines.
"We expected this (to be harder than the rest) because Malaysia is also undefeated. They also have the chance to be champions and anticipated they will play their best game," said coach Oliver.
But luck was on the side of Batang Gilas as Malaysia wasn't able to conquer the lead and stumbled to a 3-1 record while Team Pilipinas ended the tourney undefeated with a 4-0 cushion.
"We are happy because we were able to defend the championship," said Forthsky Padrigao who scored a total of 5 points with 6 assists and 11 rebounds.
Christian Calimag and Terrence Fortea contributed 15 points apiece for Batang Gilas while Miguel Pascual produced a double-double: 15 markers and 12 boards.
Bismarck Lina also provided power for Philippines as he chipped in 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Malaysia's Yi Kang Teoh gathered 19 points, 3 dishes and 3 boards while Run Sam Yap, Thiam Mun Wong and Jun Kai Tang had 8 points apiece.
Coach Oliver shared the journey to owning the championship wasn't easy despite the 3-month preparation, "We had 3 months but the lineup was completed only last April."
Despite Malaysia's loss, they are still qualified to play in the FIBA U16 tournament alongside Southeast Asia's best bet, team Philippines.
"We're ready (to play for FIBA Asia) but we're on the process of improving. We still aren't perfect but I know we can do it. We're going to prepare for it really hard," Sotto said. – Rappler.com
Philippines (83): Fortea 15, Calimag 15, Sotto 15, Lina 13, Cortez 13, Guadana 6, Padrigao 5, Pascual 1, Go 0, Lazaro 0.
Malaysia(62): Teoh YK 19, Tang 8, Wong 8, Yap 8, Tan E 7, Khor 5, S. Chandaran 4, Tan C 3, Lee 0, Chin 0.
Quarter scores: 22-15, 43-36, 65-52, 83-62.