RC Calimag game-winner lifts Batang Gilas over Japan to earn spot in Fiba U17 World Cup
RC Calimag hits a late basket as Philippines overcomes a late Japan rally. Photo from Fiba

RC Calimag buried the game-winning basket for the Philippines with 2.3 seconds left in the game as Batang Gilas secured a berth in the semifinals with a 72-70 win over Japan on Friday in the Fiba Under-16 Asian Championship in Foshan, China.

The Philippines also clinched a berth in this year's Fiba Under-17 Basketball World Cup.

Kai Sotto had a big game, finishing with 28 points, 21 rebounds, and three blocks for Batang Gilas.

Calimag, from De La Salle-Zobel, added 15 points, none bigger than in the final seconds when he was able to shoot over several Japanese defenders for the game-winner.

The Philippines returns to the world stage after making it to the Fiba Under-17 World Championship in 2014 on a team led by University of the Philippines star Paul Desiderio and Ateneo seniors players Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto and Jolo Mendoza.

The tournament was later renamed Under-17 Basketball World Cup.

The Philippines next takes on the winner of the China-Lebanon quarterfinal match.

Sotto and Calimag spearheaded a 13-0 start in the third.

Sotto gave Batang Gilas the 37-36 lead with a three-point play and Calimag buried a triple to make it 47-36.

The scores:

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.

Quarterscores: 15-17; 32-34; 57-44; 72-70.

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