One can’t help but be optimistic about every young prospect’s future based on their respective showings for the Philippines in the FIBA U16 Asian Championships.
— FIBA #Basketball (@FIBA) April 2, 2018
Batang Gilas’ fourth place finish showed the possible floors and ceilings for every player in the roster, who displayed flashes of being floor generals, elite scorers and defensive anchors.
It wasn’t a pretty showing overall, though; they looked out of sync numerous times, bricked a lot of shots (the team shot 34.3 percent from the field in the tournament, which was dead last) and evidently didn’t mesh well with one another, but that’s part of their growth; these players still have a lot of time to develop their physical tools and have the game slow down to the pace that they want.
Here’s how each individual performed in the tournament.
Shaun Geoffrey Chiu (center)
Tournament stats: 2.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.2 steals, 0.2 blocks, 44.4 percent shooting in 5.6 minutes per game
The 6’7 center was raw and was barely used by head coach Michael Oliver in the tournament. He did play 12 minutes in the team’s 103-61 blowout win against Hong Kong, where he posted a near double-double of 11 points and eight rebounds. He’ll look to further make an impact in college when he suits up for the Ateneo Blue Eagles alongside Kai Sotto.
King Balaga (guard)
Tournament stats: 2.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.2 blocks, 27.8 percent shooting in 7.2 minutes per game
The shooting guard from the Far Eastern Univesity – Diliman was another end-of-bench guy for Batang Gilas. The most playing time that he had was against Hong Kong, where he put up 12 points, five rebounds and two assists on 5/16 shooting in 22 minutes of play. That was the only game where he made field goals, though, as he went 0/2 in other games.
Rafael Go (forward)
Tournament stats: 2.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 41.7 percent from the field in 10.3 minutes per game
The 6’2 forward had a pretty quiet FIBA U16 outing. He didn’t have the ball a lot but hit the glass often and had more rebounds (15) than points (10) in the tournament. He did see a lot of action in two games, where he logged 18 minutes against Malaysia (four points, nine rebounds) and Hong Kong (six points, six rebounds, one assist).
Jorick Bautista (guard)
Tournament stats: 2.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals, 29.4 percent from the field in 11.2 minutes per game
The guard out of FEU-Diliman logged two good games, where he shot 5/9 overall, but fired blanks in all of his other games. He played 23 minutes against Hong Kong and was a plus-13 after scoring six points and adding five boards, two dimes and three steals. He was also on the floor for 17 minutes against New Zealand in the third-place game and had five points, three rebounds and two assists.
Joshua Lazaro (forward)
Tournament stats: 1.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 blocks on 26.3 percent shooting in 15.8 minutes per game
Lazaro was the team’s worst offensive player in six games but the team couldn’t really keep him off the floor due to the intangibles that he offered. Despite playing a shade under 16 minutes per game, he was tied for third in team rebounding. His activity on defense was also notable; he was second behind Sotto in blocks per game (1.0). San Beda HS’ forward posted his best game against Hong Kong, where he tallied five points, five rebounds, three blocks and an assist in 13 minutes.
McLaude Guadana (guard)
Tournament stats: 5.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.2 assists on 35.5 percent shooting in 17.6 minutes per game
The Lyceum prospect has the tools to be one of college’s more potent scorers when he hits the seniors. He showed a bit of poise on offense, where Guadana was an impressive 7/11 inside the arc in six games. Against Australia, he led the team with 11 points on 3/6 shooting (two threes). He also knocked down two threes and had 10 points and three rebounds against Hong Kong. He only had an assist for the whole tournament, but the passing will come; Guadana did post a triple-double against Indonesia last year in the 2017 SEABA Under-16 Championship, which suggests that the potential on that area is there.
Yukien Andrada (forward)
Tournament stats: 5.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 0.5 blocks on 33.3 percent shooting from the field, 31.6 percent shooting from downtown in 17.6 minutes per game
Andrada looked decent for most of the tournament. He primarily played the role of a four who can stretch the floor; he had 27 rebounds in six games and knocked down six of his 19 three-point attempts for a 31.6 percent clip, which was good for second-best in the team. His best outing came against New Zealand in Batang Gilas’ final game, where he scored nine points and knocked down three out of his seven tries from three. He also chipped in five boards, two steals and a block in a productive 24 minutes.
Raven Cortez (forward)
Tournament stats: 5.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks on 48.3 percent shooting in 19.1 minutes per game
Cortez was one of the finer talents in this Batang Gilas roster. He bannered the team’s second-best player efficiency rating (PER) at 10.3 and was the most accurate guy from the field in six games, averaging 48.3 percent on 4.8 attempts per game. He looked like the team’s second-best big and was active on the boards and in disrupting passing lanes. The De La Salle-Zobel prospect even double-doubled in the team’s close win against Malaysia, where he posted 12 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and a block.
RC Calimag (guard)
Tournament stats: 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.0 steal, 31.4 percent shooting from the field, 31.8 percent shooting from downtown in 24.0 minutes per game
It was a shame that Calimag had to suffer a knee injury to sideline him in Batang Gilas’ last two games. He was just finding his rhythm, too; after a terrible debut (eight points, 2/16 shooting against Malaysia), he found his stroke against Hong Kong (12 points, four rebounds, three assists on 5/15 shooting) and Australia (10 points on 3/7 shooting). He peaked against Japan, where he had the hot hand from downtown (3/6). The guard out of De La Salle-Zobel scored 15 points that game, but his last two were the biggest as he threw up a game-winning one-hander in the paint against multiple Japanese defenders to send the Philippines back into the FIBA U-16 World Cup.
It’s not a stretch to say that the results might have been closer – or different – had Calimag’s scoring been available in the team’s last two matches.
Kai Sotto (center)
Tournament stats: 16.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.2 assists, 41.0 percent from the field in 25.3 minutes per game
— FIBA #Basketball (@FIBA) April 6, 2018
Sotto’s play earned him a well-deserved spot in the tournament’s Mythical First Team. He showed massive potential and looked raw but promising; save for his nine-point, four-rebound showing against Australia, the 7’1 Ateneo center overwhelmed in the paint against opponents. His best games came against Japan, where he went for 28 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks, and against an equally tall Chinese frontline, where he came up with 26 points, grabbed 21 boards and swatted away six shots in a losing effort. He led the tournament in rebounding (13.5) and blocks (2.5), had the most double-doubles (four) and had the highest PER out of anyone in the tournament (21.5).
We already know that the possibilities are endless for this kid right here. He still has years of development before he becomes a complete terror in the paint, but Sotto’s head and heart are in the right place. He’ll be even better.
Terrence Fortea (guard)
Tournament stats: 11.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 30.4 percent shooting in 28.8 minutes per game
Poor shooting and turnovers aside, Fortea is capable of being an elite guard in the college level. He’s a gunner who mixes it up on the boards, too, as his 5.2 average on the glass was the second-best rating in the team. He had a couple of bad games (four points, 2/12 shooting against Australia; six points, 3/13 against Japan) but he made up for it in the team’s last two games as Fortea poured 18 markers and nine rebounds on 8/18 shooting against China, and 18 points again against New Zealand. He’ll have to do a better job of taking care of the ball, though; for someone who had the ball in his hands a lot, the NU Bullpup wasn’t careful as he had more turnovers (22) than assists (14) in his national stint.
Forthsky Padrigao (guard)
Tournament stats: 5.2 points, 4.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 steal, 28.2 percent from the field, 23.1 percent from downtown in 29.2 minutes per game
Padrigao led the team in minutes played and assists per game, but it was clear that he still needed a lot of growing to do in that point guard position. He oftentimes looked sloppy and even posted a dud in 35 minutes against China in the semifinals (zero points, seven assists, seven turnovers). He’s just a young guard, though, and these mistakes are part of his development. He’s capable of doing damage everywhere – against Hong Kong, he posted 11 points, six assists, four rebounds and a steal – and evidently coaches trusted him enough to give him a lot of playing time even with these mistakes. Padrigao will surely be smarter with his decision-making, will be more careful handling the rock and will read the game to his advantage. Just give him time.
Featured image sourced from: FIBA.basketball