Kai Sotto shot 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as Batang Gilas claimed its first victory Sunday, July 9 in the 2018 FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Cup.
Sotto canned four free throws in the final 13 seconds to push the Philippines to a 70-66 victory over Egypt in the classification semifinals at the Technological University Stadium in Santa Fe, Argentina
This put the Philippines in a fight with New Zealand for 13th place.
Batang Gilas’ first triumph came after they lost five straight games in the world stage.
New Zealand won over China, 62-57, to arrange a meeting with Batang Gilas, which blew a chance to fight for ninth place with their 59-95 loss to Mali.
The Philippines led comfortably for most of the game and built a 20-point lead, 39-19, with two minutes to go in the second quarter off two free throws from Sotto.
But the Egytians fought back to within a point Omar Morsy’s three-point play in the last 1:15, 64-65.
Raven Cortez then scored a clutch putback off Gerry Abadiano’s miss for a 67-64 advantage with just a minute left to play.
Two freebies from Egypt’s Omar Morsy allowed them to stay within a point.
As Egypt tried to take the lead, Momen Hassan missed his attempt, and Sotto knocked down four more free throws afterwards to give Batang Gilas the win.
Abadiano finished with 15 points, while Cortez and Rence Padrigao added 10 points each for Batang Gilas.