U17 Worlds: Greece overwhelms Batang Gilas
DUBAI—Batang Gilas courageously stood its ground before losing steam to absorb an 85-65 rout from Greece late Saturday night in the Fiba U17 World Championship.
Without a single field goal in the third period, the Filipinos, after a gallant stand in the first half, fell behind by 30 points and took a second straight whipping after bowing to Angola Friday.
“They came in a lot stronger (in the third). They flexed their muscles and used their height,” said Batang Gilas coach Jamike Jarin, whose team was hounded by bad calls and spotty officiating throughout.
The Filipinos got off to a 9-2 start behind Jolo Mendoza and Mike Nieto, sparking a wild celebration from the pro-Filipino crowd at the Al Shabab Arena here.
But Greece, led by 7-foot-1 Giorgios Papagiannis and 6-9 Thanasis Ntouzidis, battled back with a hail of three-pointers and incursions to take control at the half.
Despite staring at a 46-26 deficit, Batang Gilas seemed still in the fight until the Filipinos missed all of their 10 attempts from the field in the third in the face of the swarming defense of the Greeks.
Instead of sulking, Jarin and the Nationals remained in high spirits.
“I like the way we fought. I think this team is better than the team you saw last Friday,” said Jarin of their opening-day setback against Angola.
“We connected more, the body language was better, the confidence was better and we played tougher on defense,” he added.
Starring Richard Escoto, Mikel Panlilio and Nieto, the Filipinos neutralized Papagiannis, a top European league prospect.
While they held Papagiannis to a one point, the Nationals failed to stop shooters Antonis Pefanis and Antonis Koniaris, who combined for 10 of Greece’s 13 threes.
“Everybody loves an underdog. We are the underdog and we will continue to fight,” said Jarin.
Team USA next
The Nationals took a break yesterday and will face two-time champion United States to end their first-round stint in Group A Monday. The Americans had already beaten Greece and Angola.
GREECE 85—Pefanis 26, Koniaris 14, Ntouzidis 9, Flionis 6, Michaloutsos 6, Skordas 6, Kamaras 5, Diplaros 4, Mouratos 4, Milentigievitsalifieris 2, Charalampopoulos 2, Papagiannis 1.
PHILIPPINES 65—Mendoza 19, Nieto M. 11, Dela Cruz 9, Go 7, Desiderio 6, Escoto 4, Navarro 4, Dario 2, Abadeza 2, Panlilio 0.
Quarters: 25-17, 46-26, 63-33, 85-65
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