BATANG Gilas finally snatched a victory in the Fiba Under-17 Basketball World Cup, defeating Egypt, 70-69, in the classification round for 13th to 16th places in the match on Saturday in Santa Fe, Argentina (Sunday, Manila time).
The Philippine team led by as many as 20 points but allowed the Egypt to fight back before holding on for the win.
Kai Sotto had 28 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks for the Philippines, which will face New Zealand on Monday in the battle for 13th place.
Sotto hit two crucial free throws with eight seconds remaining to make it a 70-66 Philippine lead.
Mazen Ibrahim hit a triple to cut the deficit to one point, with Egypt still having a chance to win the game when Gerry Abadiano missed two free throws. Omar Tarek Samir Mohamed Morsy, however, failed to convert a three-pointer as time expired.
Sotto’s two free throws with 2:07 left in the second quarter lifted the Philippines to a 39-19 lead, the biggest of the game, and the cushion proved to be enough for Batang Gilas to pick up the victory.
Gerry Abadiano had 15 points, while Raven Cortez and Forthsky Padrigao added 10 points each for Batang Gilas.
Philippines 70 – Sotto 28, Abadiano 15, Cortez 10, Padrigao 10, Calimag 5, Chiu 2, Lazaro 0, Andrada 0, Fortea 0, Guadana 0, Pascual 0.
Egypt 69 – Khalifa 17, Elmadawy 12, Morsy 11, Hassan 7, Ibrahim 7, Noureldin 7, Mahmoud 3, Mohamed 2, Helmy 0, Saed 0.
Quarterscores: 17-8; 41-26; 55-50; 70-69.