|Their post-game reactions said it all. FIBA|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--RC Calimag saved the day for Batang Gilas as he scored the marginal basket in a 72-70 win over Japan in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia U16 Championship at the Lingnan Mingzhu Gymnasium in Foshan, China on Friday.
Calimag scored on a layup with just 2.3 seconds left as Batang Gilas withstood a late run from the Japanese side to not just secure a place in the semifinals but also in next year's FIBA U17 Championship.
Following a tight first half, Batang Gilas looked to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring Japan, 25-12, to open a 57-46 advantage.
Japan, however, slowly crawled back and eventually tied the game, 70-all, with 26.4 seconds remaining.
Calimag then went through the Japan defense to score the shotclock-beating deuce that put Batang Gilas back up.
Chikara Tanaka, who made two equalizing baskets down the stretch for Japan, had a chance to force overtime, but his fadeaway jumper just rimmed out as time expired.
Calimag's clincher saved Kai Sotto's monster game from going down the drain.
The seven-foot-two big man made 28 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks for Batang Gilas.
Calimag added 15 points, one rebound, and one steal.
Tanaka made 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block for Japan, which got the boot despite finishing the preliminary phase on top of the standings with a perfect record.
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