Batang Gilas banked on RC Calimag’s crucial lay-up in the dying seconds to survive Japan, 72-70, and claim its ticket to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup Under-17 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asian Under-16 Championship at the Foshan Lingnan Mingzhu Gymnasium in China.
Enjoying a 69-59 lead with 3:33 remaining in the game, the Filipino squad was threatened after the Japanese pulled off a rally, highlighted by a three-pointer by Tanaka Chikara, to tie the score at 70-all with only 32 ticks to go.
But after a timeout, Calimag saved the day by blasting through three Japanese defenders to score the game winner. He contributed a total of 15 points, including three triples.
Tanaka, who led the Japanese with 17 points, muffed a game-tying jumper as the final buzzer sounded.
The 7’1 center Zachary Kai Sotto played his best game so far in the tournament with 28 points on 11-of-23 shooting from the field on top of 21 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
Batang Gilas will meet the winner in the other quarterfinals match between Lebanon and host China in the semifinals on Saturday.
Batang Gilas (Philippines) 72: Sotto 28, Calimag 15, Cortez 8, Fortea 6, Padrigao 4, Andrada 4, Guadana 4, Bautista 3, Lazaro 0, Balaga 0, Chiu 0, Go 0.
Japan 70: Tanaka 17, Yuki 14, Mitani 12, Tominaga 12, Yamazaki 6, Nakamura 5, Kawamura 2, Yokochi 2, Ehara 0, Iwasaki 0, Ehara 0, Matsuo 0.
Quarter Scores: 15-17; 32-34; 57-44; 72-70.