MANILA – Batang Gilas regained its form in time to beat Bahrain 67-52 in the knockout quarterfinal round of the 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championships on Thursday at Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
Kai Sotto came alive in the second half to finish with 21 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks while Ariel John Edu added double-double 16 points and 17 rebounds for the Philippines.
The victory allowed Batang Gilas to advance to the semifinal round against the winner of the Australia-Japan quarterfinals – and with its Final Four entry, the Philippines also bagged a slot in the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.
Batang Gilas surged to a 20-7 start in the match with Edu scoring 9 straight points, including back-to-back triples. Bahrain answered with a couple of baskets to come to within 11-20.
The Philippines widened its lead to 26-13 on free throws by Ilonggo Gerry Abadiano but Bahrain countered with a 21-0 scoring run build on outside shots to snatch a 34-26 halftime lead.
Batang Gilas turned to Sotto and Edu early in the third to take a 41-36 lead after a Miguel Oczon trey. Bahrain countered with triples to tie the count at 45-all before the Philippines regained a 48-45 lead on another basket from Oczon.
The Filipinos slowly pulled away at the onset of the fourth quarter on inside hits by Sotto for a 57-47 lead. With Bahrain struggling on offense, Batang Gilas went on to build its largest lead 64-47 on a 3-point play by Sotto./PN