New Zealand denies Batang Gilas a podium finish

FOSHAN (FIBA U16 Asian Championship) – The Philippines took an early 12-7 lead after a jump shot by Kai Sotto early in the first period and it looked like they could handle the Kiwis.

But the other team from Down Under was not to be denied when they dropped a crippling 35-9 run that gave them a 42-21 lead at the half, and a lead they would not surrender en route to a 76-60 triumph that saw them bag the bronze medal in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship in Foshan, China.

The Junior Tall Blacks heightened their physicality to frustrate the Filipinos, especially celebrated center Kai Sotto. With great defense and rebounding, New Zealand outscored the Philippine 9-0 to end the first period ahead, 18-14. The Junior Tall Blacks continued the pressure in the second period, where they outscored the Filipinos, 24-7, and broke the game open. New Zealand led 42-21 at the half and never looked back.

6ft 3in (1.90m) Shalom Broughton effectively put the clamps on Sotto in this game, limiting the Filipino big man to a pedestrian 13 points and 7 rebounds while scoring 9 points an collaring 8 boards of his own. Marvin Williams-Dunn also stepped up big time for New Zealand, registering his best game of the tournament with 17 points. Mitchell Dance, meanwhile, added 16 points and 7 rebounds.

The Philippines just could not get anything going after their initial scoring run. As a team, Batang Gilas shot under 32% from the field and were outrebounded, 48-37. Terrence Fortea paced the Filipinos with 18 points and 3 assists, while Yukien Andrada added 9 points, all of them coming from beyond the arc.