Batang Gilas Pilipinas bounced back from last night’s stinging loss against Chinese Taipei by thrashing Iraq, 96-79, in the FIBA Asia U18 Championship 2016 Saturday night in Tehran, Iran.
Batang Gilas started slow in the first quarter, but through the offensive exploits of Jolo Mendoza, Kemark Carino, and John Gallego, the young Filipinos turned a five-point, 12-7 deficit in their favor by unleashing a 13-0 scoring spree to take the upper hand, 20-12, with less than three minutes left. Irab Al-Zuhairi’s baskets made Iraq close by three, 20-17, but Joshua Sinclair answered back, using his sweet shooting to help Batang Gilas maintain the lead and end the quarter with a nine-point lead, 26-17.
From a nine-point advantage, Batang Gilas, early in the second quarter, switched up the tempo and posted a wide, 39-21 lead with 7:06 on the clock. Iraq, meanwhile, slowly chipped away the huge Philippines lead, coming back from a 17-point, 45-28 deficit to inch within 11, 48-37, with less than three minutes remaining. But that was the closest the Middle Eastern squad could get, as Mendoza, Sinclair, and Fran Yu joined hands to make Batang Gilas own the first twenty minutes of the game, 56-39.
After a 15-point, 56-41 lead early in the third canto, Batang Gilas pulled away from Iraq, posting a 25-point, 66-41 lead with Yu, Sinclair, and Jonas Tibayan delivering on offense with seven minutes left. The whole quarter saw Philippines doing everything on both ends, which translated to Iraq not being able to close by less than twenty points. Al-Zuhairi was the lone bright star for Iraq, quickly reaching 32 markers in the frame. Batang Gilas closed the quarter with a commanding 80-61 lead.
It was all Batang Gilas in the final ten minutes as they pulled away for good. The Iraqis, despite Al-Zuhairi dominating inside, never had the chance to stage a comeback and close in by less than fifteen points. With almost everyone on the floor scoring, Batang Gilas sustained the lead and eventually held on to beat Iraq, 96-79, to successfully barge into the win column after suffering into the hands of Chinese Taipei last night.
Mendoza and Sinclair both had excellent outings tonight, anchoring Batang Gilas with 25 and 21 points, respectively. Gallego added 12 markers, while Yu had 10. Philippines converted 45 (39/85) percent of their shots and dominated the assists department with 21.
The Iraqis where led by Al-Zuhairi with a monster performance, posting a double-double of 39 points and 24 rebounds. Ali Fadhil was the only other player for Iraq to hit double-figures, scoring 11 points.
Batang Gilas (1-1) will go for their second straight win tomorrow against powerhouse team China.
Philippines (96) – Mendoza 25, Sinclair 21, Gallego 12, Yu 10, Carino 8, Mamuyac 7, Flores 4, Bahio 4, Tibayan 2, Madrigal 2, Pagsanjan 0.
Iraq (73) – Al-Zuhairi 39, Fadhil 11, Abbas 8, Al-Saedi 7, Jassanee 6, Obaidi 6, Al-Draisawi 2, Abdalla 0, Albomghee 0, Albo Mousa 0, Saadullah 0.
Quarterscores: 26-17, 56-39, 80-61, 96-73