Batang Gilas Pilipinas could not overcome a disastrous second frame that ultimately led to a 60-76 loss to New Zealand in the bronze medal match of the 2017 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship, Sunday afternoon at the Foshan Lingnan Mingzhu Gymnasium in China.
Still, the Philippines managed to finish in fourth place — a spot higher than the 2015 batch. Moreover, Batang Gilas was able to punch their ticket to the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Championship in Argentina later this year.
Kai Sotto, the top-ranked prospect in the Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24, was limited to just 22 minutes of play, finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds, and a block. This was way below his norms of 17.6 points, 14.8 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks in the tournament.
Gunner Terrence Fortea, from Nazarene School of National University, paced the young Filipinos with 18 points.
Batang Gilas had a strong start, leading by as much as seven points behind the troika of Sotto, Fortea, and Forthsky Padrigao. However, the Junior Tall Blacks went physical against Sotto and his teammates. As the quarter ended, Batang Gilas could only put up seven points in the frame.
After Sotto knotted the game at 18-all early in the second frame, New Zealand went on a 12-0 run to break the game wide-open.
New Zealand never looked back as their physical press gave them a lead that went to as high as 27 points.
Yukien Andrada of San Beda and Forthsky Padrigao of Ateneo chipped in nine and eight markers respectively.
Marvin Williams-Dunn led New Zealand with 17 markers while Mitchell Dance added 16 points and seven boards.
RC Calimag missed his second straight game due to a knee injury.
Philippines 60 – Fortea 18, Sotto 13, Andrada 9, Padrigao 8, Cortez 5, Bautista 5, Lazaro 2, Chiu 0, Go 0, Guadana 0, Balaga 0.
New Zealand 76 – Williams-Dunn 17, Dance 16, McKinlay 10, Broughton 9, Cowie 6, To’o 6, Dixon 4, Payne 4, Perham 4, Trott 0.
Quarterscores: 14-18, 21-42, 41-61, 60-76.