Friday, August 8, 2014

Batang Gilas drops FIBA U-17 World Championship debut to Angola

The Philippine national youth basketball team, Batang Gilas, put together a gutsy effort but ultimately fell short against a taller, more athletic Angola side, 82-72, in their opening game in the FIBA U-17 World Championship on Friday at the Al-Ahli Arena in Dubai, UAE.

The Batang Gilas squad stayed within striking distance for most of the game, coming to as close as seven points in the fourth quarter despite falling behind by as much as 13 points in the third.

Jolo Mendoza scored 16 points to lead the Filipinos while guards Jolo Go and Diego Dario chipped in with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Angola’s 6-foot-6 forward Joao Jungo dominated with 28 points and 11 rebounds for the winning side.

The Filipinos came out with a blazing start, outscoring their African counterparts, 10-6, behind some early contributions from Go, Paul Desiderio and Michael Dela Cruz.

But Jungo got his game going, scoring five points in an 8-0 run that gave his team a 14-10 lead before the Philippines closed in to 15-12 at the end of the first period.

In the second, it was Mendoza, Batang Gilas’ leading scorer in the FIBA Asia Championship last year, getting into a groove as he scored 11 big points in a veritable duel with Angola’s Eric Amandio, who shot the lights out from outside to finish with 10 markers in the quarter.

But Mendoza’s scoring explosion was not nearly enough as Angola closed out the quarter on a 12-4 run that gave them a 41-32 lead at the halftime break.

They pushed the lead up to double figures, 42-32, at the start of the third but the Nieto twins, Big Mike and Matt, each scored a basket sandwiched around a free throw split from Desiderio as the Philippines closed in to five, 42-37.

Angola had another run in them, though, as Jungo led his team on a 10-2 blast that put some separation between the teams, 52-39.

They led 61-50 after three periods.

In the fourth, Batang Gilas got to as close as seven, 66-59, after a three-pointer from Go near the midway point of the quarter.

Angola responded with a pair of three-pointers but Filipino guard Diego Dario scored back-to-back baskets to keep the Philippines within single digits, 72-63, with over three minutes left to play.

They could get no closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Paul Desiderio finished with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds but could not get much help on the boards from the other Batang Gilas frontliners, especially after team captain Mike Nieto fouled out in under 16 minutes of play.

Angola trumped the Philippines in the rebounding battle, 70-46.

The scores:
Angola (82) – Jungo 26, Amandio 17, Miranda 12, V. Manuel 10, Do 6, Valente 55, De Sousa 4, Fernando 2, D. Manuel 0.

Batang Gilas (72) – Mendoza 16, Go 13, Dario 12, Desiderio 9, Ma. Nieto 6, Dela Cruz 6, Escoto 4, Mi. Nieto 2, Navarro 2, Padilla 2, Panlilio 0, Abadezo 0.

Quarterscores: 15-12, 41-32, 61-52, 82-72.


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