By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE Philippines’ rough start at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup in Argentina continued on Monday after Batang Gilas was routed by France, 95-54, in its second game in the tournament at the Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario.
Stood toe-to-toe with the French at the start of the contest, the Filipinos could not sustain such form as the game progressed, seeing off their opponents leave them on their tracks on the way to the rout, and leaving them still winless in the tournament.
Batang Gilas fell behind early in the opening quarter but showed resilience to fight its way back and tie the count at 17-all at the end of the first 10 minutes.
France tried to pull away in the second period but the young Filipino players would stand their ground, keeping the French threat to a minimum of just six points by the halftime break, 38-32.
The second half though was a totally different story as the French lorded it over the Filipinos.
Finding its groove from all cylinders, France went to outscore the Philippines, 35-13, in the third period, turning a six-point cushion at the half to a massive 28-point advantage, 73-45.
Making matters worse for Batang Gilas, big man Kai Sotto was foul-saddled in the period, having notched his fourth foul that rendered him less effective as he sat on the bench.
While the match was pretty much settled at the start of the fourth period, Batang Gilas still could not buy a basket while the French stayed steady.
France outscored the Philippines, 22-9, in the final canto to tally the 95-54 victory.
Carl Tamayo led Batang Gilas with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds with Gerry Abadiano adding 17 points.
Sotto only had seven points and six rebounds in 23 minutes of foul-plagued play, considerably down from his 23-point and 12-rebound outing in his tournament debut.
For the victorious French team, it was Malcom Cazalon who led the way with 18 points, followed by Matthieu Gauzin with 16 points and Theo Maledon and Killian Hayes with 14 points each.
The win improved France to 2-0 while the Philippines dropped to 0-2 in Group D.
Croatia (1-0) and host Argentina (0-1) were still playing as of this writing.
As per tournament format, the teams in each of the four groupings play their group mates for positioning after which they play in a crossover encounter with those from other groups.
Group D teams, which also include host team Argentina, will battle those from Group C which features Canada, Egypt, New Zealand and Montenegro.
Batang Gilas next plays Argentina on Wednesday.