US youth star Ferguson praises Batang Gilas as 'the toughest we've played against'
Batang Gilas gunner Jolo Mendoza goes for a drive against Terrance Ferguson in their Group A game in the Fiba Under-17 world championships in Dubai. Photo from Fiba.com

A MEMBER of the United States Under-17 basketball team that manhandled the Philippines in Dubai on Monday night praised the 'tireless' Batang Gilas, saying they were "probably the toughest we played against."

The Americans completed a three-game sweep of the Group A preliminaries with the 124-64 win over the Filipinos, the biggest winning margin in a bracket that also included Greece and Angola.

Still, Team USA standout Terrence Ferguson was full of praise for the "really tough" Philippines and its ‘all-out’ play at a time when it was already trailing by a wide margin.

“Oh they’re tough, they’re really tough,” said Ferguson in a story posted on the USA Basketball website. “I even talked to them after the game and told them they were probably the toughest team we played against."

Ferguson, who torched Batang Gilas with five three-pointers for his 15 points, said he believed the game would have been a lot more interesting if the Filipino players were a little taller.

The Americans have an average height of 6-6 and own a seven-inch advantage over the Filipinos.

“They’re always on. They’re running full speed the whole game. I don’t think they get tired, I really don’t think so. If they had a couple more inches, it would have been a great game,” said the star of Prime Prep Academy in Flower Mound, Texas.

Ferguson said he simply fed off the energy of his teammates.

“It started out with the defense; that got me into the game. Harry (Giles) and Jayson’s (Tatum) dunk, that got me all excited, it got me into the game. So, I just started feeling it after that. It was on. I kept shooting,” Ferguson said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports