The Under-17 squad of Batang Gilas Pilipinas were able to make up their disastrous group stage by ending their campaign on a high note.
Behind a monster double-double by Kai Sotto, Batang Gilas romped New Zealand, 73-51, Monday morning (Philippine time) in Argentina.
The Philippines ended its campaign in 13th place – two spots higher than the finish of the 2014 batch led by Paul Desiderio and Matt Nieto.
Sotto, the best under-16 center in Asia, finished the game with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks to raise his tournament averages to 16.4 points and 10.6 rebounds.
Batang Gilas had a strong start to the contest, leading 35-24 early in the first half. But unlike in their game against Egypt, the young Filipinos zoomed in the second half, picking up a lead that went to as high as 24 points.
Forthsky Padrigao steered the ship for Batang Gilas, finish with nine assists, six steals, and four points. Terrence Fortea added 12 markers.
Mitchell Dance had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds for New Zealand.
Philippines 73 – Sotto 22, Fortea 9, Abadiano 8, Calimag 8, Chiu 8, Guadana 7, Padrigao 4, Cortez 4, Andrada 0, Lazaro 0.
New Zealand 51 – Dance 12, Broughton 10, Cowie 6, Williams-Dunn 6, Dixon 5, Vaigafa 5, Rissetto 4, McKinlay 3, Jenkins 0, Stodard 0, Payne 0
Quarterscores: 16-12, 41-26, 54-36, 73-51.