To help prepare Batang Gilas for its upcoming 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup campaign, six players from the Gilas Cadets squad figured in a tune-up game against the youth team. The grizzled Cadets withstood a late scare, taking a 70-54 victory, Saturday evening at Kerry Sports Gym in Taguig City.
“It’s not really for the Cadets. Except for Troy [Rike], we wanted to get Troy some games with the players, with this team,” said coach Chot Reyes, who was filling in for coach Jong Uichico. “That was important also from our perspective for the Cadets. But other than that, it was really for Batang Gilas and as you see, they’re a tough bunch.”
Kobe Paras, Thirdy Ravena, Prince Rivero, Troy Rike, Will Gozum, and Matt Nieto had their way with Batang Gilas during the first three quarters.
Getting a feel of the game and seeing their older brothers fatigued, the youth team stormed back in the final frame.
Yukien Andrada hit on all cylinders, scoring seven of his 10 points in the final frame. An Andrada hook shot cut the lead to just seven points late in the contest.
The Cadets though dug deep to close out the game, going on a 9-0 run capped by a thunderous slam by Ravena.
“We’ve been making good progress. I think we are 70 percent right now,” shared Batang Gilas assistant coach Josh Reyes. “That was our first game with our new system. Our defense was good, limiting an explosive team like that down to 70 points. Little toughness issues but kaya nga nilalaro namin yung older teams. Yung offense will come.”
“Lumalaban sila. Di sila umaatras sa banggaan,” added Chot Reyes. “Obviously when they’re matched up against Thirdy and Matt, yung mga yun, third, fourth year college nila, and then sila Prince, you can see their advantages talaga. But’m very happy with this group of guys.”
Paras led all scorers with 22 points while Ravena added 17.
Batang Gilas were led by Kai Sotto with 12 markers.
The Under-17 World Cup will take place from June 30 to July 8 in Argentina.
The Cadets, on the other hand, take on the EAC Generals on Monday, June 4 in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, presented by Chooks-to-Go
Gilas Cadets 70 – Paras 22, Ravena 17, Rivero 14, Rike 12, Gozum 2, Nieto 1.
Batang Gilas 54 – Sotto 12, Andrada 10, Fortea 8, Pascual 6, Abadiano 6, Lazaro 3, Tan 2, Chiu 2, Lina 2, Baclaan 1, Yu 0, Guadana 0, Go 0, Bautista 0, Balaga 0.
Quarterscores: 26-11, 45-25, 60-42, 70-54.