Batang Gilas falls to Croatia in Fiba U17 World Cup opener
The Philippines fell to No. 10 Croatia, 97-75, early Sunday morning (Manila time) at the start of the Fiba U17 World Cup in Argentina.
Batang Gilas stared at a big deficit early and never recovered as Croatia led from start to finish.
With seven players scoring at least eight points, the Croatians overwhelmed the Filipinos, opening the game with eight unanswered points before extending their lead to as high as 32, 85-53, with 7:33 left.
The Philippines showed signs of life in the third quarter after it pulled to within eight, 55-47, on a Terrence Fortea 3-pointer with 5:57 remaining, but Croatia quickly responded with a 16-2 surge to put the game out of reach, 71-49, heading into the final frame.
Matej Rujdan and Matej Bosnjak had 16 and 14 points, respectively for Croatia, which assisted on 28 out of its 39 made field goals.
Kai Sotto finished with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds that went with two blocks to lead the Philippines while Carl Tamayo added 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Philippines didn’t help its case by committing 28 turnovers and dishing only 12 assists.
Batang Gilas faces another daunting task ahead with a duel against heavyweight France, which ruled the Under-16 European championship, on Monday.
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