BATANG Gilas will be returning to the Philippines with their heads up high after coming away with a 73-51 win over New Zealand in the classification phase of the Fiba Under 17 World Cup on Sunday in Argentina (Monday, Manila time).
The Philippines ends its campaign with two straight wins after a tumultuous start, finishing 13th overall ahead of Egypt, China and New Zealand.
The US beat France, 95-52, to win the tournament for the fifth straight time,
Kai Sotto towered over New Zealand as he finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks as the Philippines only trailed at 2-0 before embarking on a blowout against their taller foes.
Terrence Fortea added 12 points, all on threes as RC Calimag, Geo Chiu and Gerry Abadiano added eight apiece.
Forthsky Padrigao struggled from the field as he finished with four points but made up for it by making nine assists and six steals.
Mitchell Dance led New Zealand with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The 13th place finish is an improvement from the country's previous attempt in the world stage as they finished 15th in the 2014 edition.
Batang Gilas 73 – Sotto 22, Fortea 12, Calimag 8, Chiu 8, Abadiano 8, Guadana 7, Cortez 4, Padrigao 4, Andrada 0, Lazaro 0,
New Zealand 51 – Dance 12, Broughton 10, Cowie 6, Williams-Dunn 6, Vaigafa 5, Dizon 5, Risseto 4, McKinlay 3, Payne 0, Stodard 0, Jenkins 0
Quarterscores: 16-12; 35-24; 54-36; 73-51.