THE Batang Gilas struggled to find their rhythm and fell to title-favorite Australia, 77-43, in the semifinals of the 2018 Fiba Under-18 Asian Championships in Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand yesterday.
The Junior Boomers asserted their dominance early in the game, using a strong 30-point outburst in the second quarter to pull away from the Filipinos and building a 44-20 edge at the half. A closely-contested first quarter ended at 14-12.
It was a foregone conclusion in the second half as Australia did not leave any door open for Batang Gilas and pushed the lead to as much as 32 points, 60-28, going into the final quarter.
The Batang Gilas twin towers 6’11” Ariel John Edu and 7’1” Kai Zachary Sotto, who led the Filipinos on a 67-52 win over Bahrain in the quarterfinals, had limited numbers against Australia.
Edu finished with nine points and 10 rebounds while Sotto struggled to find the range with only two points in a 1-out-of-5 shooting and eight rebounds after an efficient game against Bahrain.
Despite the loss, Batang Gilas still achieved something to be proud of as they clinched a slot to the Fiba Under-19 World Cup for the first time since 1979. The Top 4 teams in the Asian Championships earned the right to play to the Fiba Under-19 World Cup.
Samsong Froling top scored for Australia with 12 points.
The Australians have been impressive all tournament-long as they won their previous games with an average winning margin of 56.25 points; the biggest was the 75-point beating of host Thailand.
In the championship match, Australia will be facing New Zealand, which pulled off an 87-82 win over China in the other semifinals match. The Philippines and China will play for third place.
The match between the Batang Gilas and Junior Boomers came just a little over a month after the Fiba World Cup qualifying match between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia at the Philippine Arena that devolved into a brawl and resulted in suspensions and massive fines.RSC