Batang Gilas' quest to score the gold in the FIBA Asia U16 Championship came to a screeching halt on Saturday night after losing to China, 60-54, in the semifinals at the Lingnan Mingzhu Gymnasium in Foshan, China.
A monster game from Kai Sotto was not enough as the host squad earned the right to face Australia in the championship game on Sunday behind a third quarter shutdown, in which it limited Batang Gilas to just seven markers all period long.
The said defensive lockdown in the third period was enough for China to outlast Batang Gilas, which still tried to inch closer in the fourth.
Sun Haoqin led China with 22 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Sotto finished with 26 points, 21 rebounds, and six blocks in the losing effort.
The Philippines secured not only a place in the semifinals of the tournament but also a slot in next year’s FIBA U17 championship with a 72-70 win against Japan.
RC Calimag scored the marginal basket for the Batang Gilas, a layup with just 2.3 seconds left as the Filipinos withstood a late run from the Japanese side.
Following a tight first half, Batang Gilas looked to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring Japan, 25-12, to open a 57-46 advantage.
Japan, however, slowly crawled back and eventually tied the game, 70-all, with 26.4 seconds remaining.
Calimag then went through the Japan defense to score the shotclock-beating deuce that put Batang Gilas back up.
His clincher saved Sotto's monster game from going down the drain.The seven-foot-two big man made 28 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks for Batang Gilas.
Calimag added 15 points, one rebound, and one steal.*PNA
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