July 26, 2017, 10:49 am
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Batang Gilas untouchable

AFTER cruising to blowout wins in its first three games, Batang Gilas finally faced a worthy challenger in Malaysia yesterday but the young Filipino dribblers still proved untouchable.

After a so-so stint in the first half, Batang Gilas buckled down to work and scored a runaway 83-62 victory to clinch the South East Asia Basketball Association Under-16 title at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Skipper Rence Padrigao, 6-foot-11 center Kai Sotto, Raven Cortez, and RC Calimag combined in a crippling 24-6 blitz bridging the third and fourth quarters as Batang Gilas turned a 43-36 halftime lead into a 77-52 buffer at the 5:41 mark of the payoff period.

Calimag, son of former pro Ricky; Sotto, and Terrence Fortea scored 15 points apiece while Cortez and Bismarck Lina chipped in 13 each as Batang Gilas swept the tourney with a 4-0 card and won for the country its fourth straight SEABA Under-16 title.

Padrigao had five points, 11 rebounds, and six dimes as Batang Gilas booked a slot in the FIBA Asia Under-16 Championship in a country and date still to be announced.

The win came on the heels of Batang Gilas’ 113-46 shellacking of Thailand last Wednesday.

Coach Mike Oliver said he expected the Malaysians to give his charges fits because they were also unbeaten going into the title duel.

“We expected that kind of performance from them because they were also 3-0. We knew they will do their best,” Oliver said.

Malaysia, which went into the game armed with a 77-56 victory over Singapore last Tuesday, scored the game’s first five points but failed to sustain its charge.

“Malaysia used their speed and outside shooting. That’s why in the second half, we reminded our players to use our advantage, which is our height,” Oliver added.

Teoh Yi Kang paced Malaysia, which also earned a slot in the FIBA Asia Under-16 Championship with its runner-up finish, with 19 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

Only the top two teams in the tourney will represent the region in the continental showpiece.

Earlier, Natthanon Chayapiwat sparked Thailand to a huge start and a 75-58 win over Singapore to finish third.

Chayapiwat banged in 10 of his 18 points in the first quarter as the Thais leaned on a 31-1 start that set the tone for their lopsided triumph. Chayapiwat also had 18 rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Arnagorn Homthuanlom chipped in 15 markers, three assists, and two boards while Hiran Boateng added 11 points, five rebounds, five dimes, and three steals.

Thailand finished the tourney with a 2-2 record and kept Singapore winless in four games.

Dorian Chin carried the fight for Singapore with 12 points and six rebounds while David Chuabio had 11. 
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