China mustered just enough to hold off a stubborn Batang Gilas quintet, 60-54, to advance to the championship round of the FIBA U16 Asian Championships at the Lingnan Mingzhu Gymnasium in Foshan, China.
A 16-7 run by China in the third quarter allowed them to distance themselves from the Filipinos en route to an 11-point cushion heading into the final quarter.
Batang Gilas went on a run of their own in the payoff period, cutting down China’s lead to as low as 3. But a crucial three-point play in the final stretch by guard Haoquin Sun made the difference. The win arranged a final match between China and Australia which defeated New Zealand in the other semis pairing, 86-61.
China’s triumph spoiled the monster performance of Kai Sotto. The Batang Gilas center finished with 26 points, 21 rebounds, and six blocked shots. Terrence Fortea backed him up with 18 points and nine rebounds. RC Calimag, the team’s hero against Japan, did not play due to a sore knee.
The loss relegated Batang Gilas in a battle for third place against New Zealand.
China 60 – Sun 22, Saimati 10, Aizimaiti 8, Lu 8, Chen 4, Li 3, Qu 3, Yang 2, Jiao 0
Philippines 54 – Sotto 26, Fortea 18, Cortez 4, Guadaña 4, Andrada 2, Padrigao 0, Balaga 0, Bautista 0, Chiu 0, Lazaro 0
Quarters: 16-15, 32-29, 48-36, 60-54