Batang Gilas opens FIBA Asia U18 campaign with rout of Lebanon

Shaun Dave Ildefonso issued 19 points as the Philippines posted its first win in the 2018 FIBA Asia U18 Championships. FIBA Photo.

By Ricky Manliguis

MANILA-- The Philippines issued a fiery start to its campaign in the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championships by blasting Lebanon, 75-53, in its opening Group B assignment late Sunday night at the Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

Shaun Dave Ildefonso led the charge with a game-best 19 points for Batang Gilas, which led 25-15 early in the first quarter while building several double-digit spreads all throughout for the wire-to-wire win over the 2016 semifinalists. 

The six-foot son of PBA legend Danny Ildefonso also had three rebounds and an assist while shooting 7-of-17 from the field including four triples.

Fil-Nigerian center AJ Edu registered a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds with five blocks, while Italy-based Dalph Panopio and 7-1 slotman Kai Sotto both chipped in 12 markers.

With the twin tower combo of Edu and Sotto manning the paint, Batang Gilas dominated the rebounding department, 61-36, with 20 coming from the offensive glass. They also issued 19 assists compared to Lebanon’s eight.

Alexander Zanbaka was the lone bright spot for Lebanon, finishing with 12 points and five rebounds before fouling out with only 25 seconds left in the match.

Batang Gilas will next face the United Arab Emirates, which got beaten to a pulp by China, 118-27, in an earlier Group B match.  

The country hopes to improve its seventh-place finish in the competition in 2016 and earn one of the four slots for next year's FIBA Under-19 World Cup.  

The scores: 

PHILIPPINES 75Ildefonso 19, Edu 17, Panopio 12, Sotto 12, Ramirez 5, Amsali 5, Cortez 2, Chiu 2, Abadiano 1, Oczon 0, Torres 0, Lina 0.

LEBANON 53—Zanbaka 12, Kopaly 9, Dargham 7, Bedikian 6, Kasab 6, Htait 5, Khoueiry 3, Khayat 2, Mougharbel 2, Saade 1, Samaha 0, Karime 0.

Quarterscores: 25-15, 41-33, 59-41, 75-53.

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