Kai Sotto has 12 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks while Raven Cortez adds 12 points and 12 rebounds in Batang Gilas' opening win
MANILA, Philippines – Batang Gilas struggled to put the ball in the hoop but managed to escape Malaysia, 62-57, in its opener in the FIBA U16 Asian Championships in Foshan, China Monday, April 2.
Kai Sotto dropped 12 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks and Raven Cortez chalked up 12 points and 12 rebounds that served as a shot in the arm for Batang Gilas, which registered a dismal 27.6% from the field (24-of-87).
The Filipinos led by as much as 13 points, 59-46, before Malaysia narrowed the gap to 5 with 1:04 minutes left following a John Tang Jun Kai triple, 57-62.
Malaysia had plenty of chances to equalize as Batang Gilas missed its next 3 shots and 4 freebies but to no avail.
Batang Gilas, which went 2-of-27 from deep and 12-of-30 from the line, compensated for its shooting woes by dominating the rebounding battle, 79-60.
Terrence John Fortea added 15 points on a 6-of-21 shooting and 9 boards and RC Calimag chipped in 8 points, 6 rebounds and two steals in the win.
Batang Gilas' atrocious shooting took its toll early with Malaysia leading 21-14 midway through the second quarter.
However, the Nationals restored order with a 16-6 run to end the first half with a slim 30-27 advantage.
Tang Jun Kai was the lone Malaysia player to breach double figures with 17 points and 4 rebounds.