Dream duel vs US ends in nightmare for Batang Gilas

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Batang Gilas’ top gun Jolo Go eludes the defense of Tyus Battle in one of the few shining moments for the Filipinos. FIBA.com

MANILA, Philippines – Batang Gilas tried to wage a courageous fight but they were simply out of the Americans’ league. 

The United States flexed its muscle and used its size advantage to the hilt in battering a smaller Phl team at all fronts on their way to 124-64 rout late Monday night in the FIBA U17 World Championship in Dubai.

Batang Gilas refused to be overwhelmed at the start trying hard to keep in step with their bigger and more athletic rivals as they trailed by only four, 14-18, midway through the first quarter.

But it proved to be the closest they could get.

The United States went on a 14-2 blitz to end the opening quarter and cruised control to the wire-to-wire 60-point victory. The huge win stretched the Americans unbeaten run in the FIBA U17 world championship to 19 games in a row dating back to its inception in 2010. 

The Americans, whose average height is 6-7, dominated the boards, 66-26, against the Filipinos, whose average height is only 6 flat.   

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The backcourt tandem of Under-16 MVP Malik Newman and Josh Jackson led the American juggernaut with 16 points apiece. Newman added two rebounds and two assists while Jackson completed a double-double with 11 boards.

Three more Americans hit in double figures with Terrance Ferguson and Henry Ellenson pumping in 15 and 14 points, respectively while Diamond Stone also finished in double-double with 12 and 11.  

SEABA MVP Jolo Mendoza continued his stellar  play for Batang Gilas as he once again led the team in scoring with 19 points highlighted by a nasty behind-the-back ankle breaker to elude two American defenders for an unmolested layup late in the third.

Jollo Go added 12 points while Richard Escoto and Matt Nieto chipped in 10 and nine points, respectively.

Batang Gilas remained winless in three outings losing to Angola by 10 in their tournament debut and 20 to hot-shooting Greece in their next game. The Filipinos will try to salvage a victory in the classification phase. 

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