The latest batch of Gilas Boys had a sensational debut, taking a wire-to-wire 82-45 win over Kuwait to open their 2022 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship campaign, early Tuesday morning (Manila time) at the Al-Gharafa Sports Club Multi-Purpose Hall in Doha, Qatar.
Dominant were the young Filipinos, racing to a 14-4 lead and never looking back.
Gilas never let up despite gaining a 25-9 first quarter lead that grew to 43-24 at the half, leading by as many as 38 points, 82-44, in the closing second of the contest.
Lights out were Gilas in the contest, shooting 51.4-percent from the field and 67.6-percent from the stripe. In comparison, Kuwait went just 34.2-percent on the floor — including a dismal 2-of-12 from downtown.
Al Red High School big man Zain Mahmood was a presence in his national team debut, tallying 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting with five rebounds, two steals, and a block. Sacred Heart-Cebu’s floor general Jared Bahay also showed that he could lead the team, producing 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
Ateneo High’s Kristian Michael Porter went a perfect 4-of-4 from the field for 10 points while Valley Christian High’s Jacob Bayla also got 10 markers.
Despite not putting up glaring numbers, Caelum Harris was a plus-24 in the contest. Also proving his worth was Citrus Valley’s Renzo Competente, who had nine points while going a game-high plus-27.
Adel Alsaied paced Kuwait, who went down to 0-2 as it also suffered a 98-33 defeat to Japan on opening day, with 12 points and nine rebounds. Tariq Alrashaid added 10 points.
The Philippines faces Japan later in the day for Group C supremacy. A win for Gilas will give them an automatic quarterfinals berth.
Philippines 82 – Mahmoud 16, Bahay 12, Bayla 10, Porter 10, Competente 9, Konov 7, Gemao 5, Nieto 4, Jones 4, Harris 2, Reyes 2, Romero 1.
Kuwait 45 – Alsaied 12, Alrashaid 10, Alresheedan 8, Asadallah 7, Malallah 6, T. Mohammad 2, Alenizi 0, Alhusaini 0, B. Mohammad 0, Edhbayah 0.
Quarterscores: 25-9, 43-24, 64-33, 82-45.