Batang Gilas opened their campaign in the 2016 Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) Under-18 Championship being held in Medan, Indonesia with a resounding 101-45 victory over Thailand.
Team captain Jolo Mendoza led the squad with 16 points highlighted by his 4-of-5 shooting performance from beyond the arc.
The Philippines got off to a hot start posting a 22-14 lead off a jumper by Will Gozum as the game enters the second period. Batang Gilas intensified their blitz before the break to stretch their lead by 28 points, 52-24, highlighted by a trey by Gian Mamuyac in the dying seconds of the first half.
The tight defense of the Philippine team limited the Thais to just 10 points before halftime.
Batang Gilas relied on inside scoring to continue their onslaught beefing up their lead, 75-31, with just a quarter left to play. The Filipinos sustained their offensive until they’ve secured the provisional top spot of the standings with a 1-0 card.
The Philippines recorded a notable 48 percent performance from the field with a total of 48 points all scored in the shaded area.
Josh Sinclair had a double-double performance of 12 points and 11 boards while Rendell Lee registered 12 markers.
John Bahio contributed 10 points and seven rebounds for the Philippines while Evan Nelle had 10 tallies and three assists.
Fran Yu finished with five points; five dishes and five rebounds while Jethro Madrigal and Jonas Tibayan had nine and eight points, respectively.
The Philippines, after winning seven of the last nine SEABA competitions, is now aiming for a spot in the FIBA U18 Championship in July.
The team will be up against Malaysia, Singapore, Laos and host Indonesia in the round-robin elimination round of the regional basketball tourney.
The Batang Gilas will be facing Malaysia at 6 p.m. today at the Angkasapura Lanud Hall in Indonesia.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES