NONTHABURI (FIBA U18 Asian Championship) – The Philippines punched its ticket to the semi-finals of the FIBA U18 Asian Championship
Quarterfinals as well as the Fiba U19 World Championship after its
67-52 win over upset-mind Bahrain.
Kai Sotto presided over a second half onslaught that saw the Filipinos
overturn a 34-26 halftime deficit into a 48-45 lead. The 7-1 center
scored 16 points in a 41-18 second half romp to blow out Bahrain.
Bahrain made it to the Quarterfinals with an upset win over
Chinese-Taipei in the Playoffs and seemed set on another shocker when
they finished the first half with a 21-0 run to lead by 8 points.
Rashed Awadh was having a solid outing of 11 points at the half and
with the Philippines shooting blanks, everything looked good for
But when the second half started, the Philippines settled down and
went to their clear advantage of having the 7’2” Kai Sotto. Ten
straight points for the towering prodigy got the Southeast Asian
Champions back to tie the game.
AJ Edu (16 points, 17 rebounds, 2 blocks) had a similar strong start
to tipoff the game with 12 points in the first quarter, including two
long bombs, before Bahrain had started their furious run.
Kai Sotto continued to dominate the second half and finished with 21
points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks. He connected with Dalph Panopio for
a couple of skyscraping alleyoops and the slam at the 5:00 minute mark
of the 4th quarter to bring the Philippines lead to double digits
pretty much sealed the deal.
The win not only seals a spot in the Semifinals for the Philippines,
but also a ticket to the FIBA U19 World Championship. It is the first
time a team from the SEABA subzone will be among the final 4 teams
since 1995 and the first time that the Philippines will have a chance
at a medal since 1992.