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Batang Gilas pulls rug from under China for automatic QF slot

Shaun Dave Ildefonso poured eight of his 18 points in a telling 3rd quarter assault in Batang Gilas' win over China. FIBA Photo.

By Ricky Manliguis

MANILA—Batang Gilas earned a ticket to the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championships by shocking China, 73-63, for an unbeaten record in Group B play Tuesday night at the Stadium 29 at Nonthaburi, Thailand.

Shaun Dave Ildefonso went up big-time in the third quarter for Batang Gilas, which fended off a spirited Chinese rally in the fourth enough to secure top spot in the group and automatic entry to the next round.

Holding a close 31-27 lead at the half, Ildefonso fired eight points in a 23-12 Philippine run, including back-to-back triples for a comfortable 54-39 edge heading in the final 10 minutes.  

AJ Edu’s basket off an Ildefonso assists made it 60-47 with 6:39 left, but the Chinese just refused to back down by scoring a 12-5 salvo capped by Guo Haowen’s bucket to trim the gap to just six, 65-59, on the 2:21 mark of the quarter.

Dalph Panopio’s jumper stopped the bleeding for the Philippines, 67-59, while Miguel Oczon and Edu added five of the final six points from the stripe to preserve the victory.  

Ildefonso bounced back from a two-point outing against UAE with 18 points on a 50% shooting from the field (8-of-16). He also had seven rebounds and two assists.

Edu finished with a double-double effort of 13 points and 14 rebounds plus five blocks, while Panopio battled foul trouble to score 12 along with eight boards and three dimes.

Kai Sotto and Oczon were the other double-figure scorers for Batang Gias with 11 apiece.  

Despite committing 19 turnovers, seven coming from Panopio, the Philippines was able to put on the clamps on defense with 10 blocks.  

They will now take a breather and await the survivor of the qualifying tussle between Bahrain and Chinese Taipei in the QFs starting Thursday, with a possible match-up with Australia looming in the horizon.

Guo led the way for China with 24 markers, but the loss relegated them to a qualifying game with Indonesia on Wednesday. Jiang Haoran and Wang Quanze had 14 and 13 markers, respectively.

The Scores:
Philippines 73 – Ildefonso 18, Edu 13, Panopio 12, Sotto 11, Oczon 11, Torres 5, Abadiano 2, Cortez 1, Ramirez 0, Amsali 0, Lina 0, Chiu 0.
China 63 – Guo 24, Jiang Q 14, Wang Q 13, Xu 7, Jiang W 5, Shi 0, Li 0, Chen 0, Wang Y 0.

Quarterscores: 18-15, 31-27, 54-39, 73-63.
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