Kai Sotto built a solid second half powering Batang Gilas’67-52 thrashing of Bahrain on Thursday in the 2018 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Under-18 Asian Championship at the Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand. The victory secured the Philippines a berth in the FIBA U-19 World Cup.
“Batang Gilas earns a spot in the World Cup! They play semis tomorrow vs winner between Australia-Japan. The SBP is proud of our team. A strong commitment to our grassroots programs,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio through his twitter account @APan9.
The last time the Philippines competed in the U-19 World Cup was in 1979 in Brazil.
The 7’1 center Sotto posted 10 of his 21 points in the third period on top of 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Down 26-34 at the halftime break, the Sotto-led Batang Gilas reduced the deficit to 41-36 via 15-2 run late in the third quarter. The young Pinoys rally was highlighted by Miguel Oczon’s three-pointer.
The Philippines then dropped a 19-7 bomb in the final canto crushing all hopes of Bahrain.
The 6’10 AJ Edu sizzled with 16 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks while Oczon contributed 10 points.
Batang Gilas, undefeated in four games, will face in the semis the winner of the quarterfinals battle between Australia and Japan.
All semifinalists will automatically earn a slot in the FIBA U-19 World Championship.
Rashed Awadh and Baqer Ali scored 13 points apiece to lead Bahrain.
Philippines 67 – Sotto 21, Edu 16, Oczon 10, Ildefonso 6, Panopio 4, Abadiano 3, Ramirez 3, Cortez 2, Amsali 2, Torres 0, Lina 0, Chiu 0
Bahrain 52 – Ali R 13, Awadh 13, Rashed M 11, Rashed A 7, Hamoda 2, Aboukuora 2, Kadhem 2, Dindayneh 2, Nawaf 0, Alrowaila 0, Ali A 0, Koohiji 0
Quarterscores: 20-11, 26-34, 48-45, 67-52