For the second straight time in international competition, the Australian national squad handily beat the Philippine National Team, this time in the FIBA U-18 Asian Championships.
After winning four straight games in the tourney, Batang Gilas ran into a brick wall against the faster and stronger Baby Boomers, who led the game the entire 40 minutes en route to a dominant 77-43 victory.
The Aussies relied on balanced scoring and had three players crack double-figures, led by Samson Froling’s 12 markers to go along with 7 boards. Callum Dalton and Kody Stattman had 10 points apiece.
They also hounded the Filipino ballhandlers with a stifling full-court press for majority of the game, resulting into 15 turnovers for Gilas. The Australians capitalized on those miscues and converted it into 10 easy points.
Where did the offense go?
After averaging around 77 points in their first four contests, Batang Gilas only managed to put up a measly 43-point output against Australia – their lowest in the tourney.
The Filipinos only made 16 out of their total 65 shots from the field for an atrocious 24 percent clip. Their three-point shooting was pretty much non-existent as well, missing 21 of their 25 tries from deep (16 percent).
The Aussies also executed their game plan masterfully, forcing Gilas Twin Towers Kai Sotto and AJ Edu out of their comfort zones. Edu was held to only 9 points and 10 rebounds, while Sotto only made one basket, ending the night with two points and 8 rebounds.
Gilas was able to control the game by dominating the glass in their first four games, but that was not the case against the more physical Boomers squad.
The Aussies held a massive 17-rebound margin over Gilas, 58-41, led by Kyle Bowen’s 8 boards. They corralled 42 rebounds on the defensive side and another 16 on second chances, resulting into 16 points. Outside of Sotto and Edu, no other Gilas player had more than 5 rebounds, while Dalton, Froling, and Stattman had 7 apiece for the winning side.
The Gilas team mostly relied on isolation plays down the stretch, whereas the opposing side patiently executed their offense to a tune of 13 total assists.
The Philippine squad’s top dimer Dalph Panopio did not record a single assist in 22 minutes of play, and turned the ball over four times. The Fil-Italian guard aggressively looked for his shot and finished with a team-high 10 field goal attempts, but he only made one basket (10 percent).
One more game left
Despite the discouraging defeat, not all is lost for the Batang Gilas team, as they still have an opportunity to stand in the podium when they duke it out against China for third place.
The Philippines came out as victors when they last faced each other in the final game of the Group B phase. The game starts at 2:30 pm and will be streamed live on FIBA’s YouTube page.