Kai has 23-12, but Batang Gilas gets dominated by Croatia

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 01, 2018 07:16 AM
Kai has 23-12, but Batang Gilas gets dominated by Croatia
It doesnít get any easier for Batang Gilas and Kai Sotto as up next for them is seventh-ranked France (Photo courtesy of FIBA)

Kai Sotto introduced himself to the world with a big bang, but 10th-ranked Croatia was quick to clamp down on the rest of Batang Gilas in the opener of the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup.

The 7-foot-1, 16-year-old was a force inside and posted a 23-point, 12-rebound double-double only to have the Croatians turn back the Philippines with total team effort for a 97-75 decision on Sunday (Philippine time) at the Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina.

The Filipinos, ranked 34th in the world, found themselves in a 0-8 hole early on and never got out of it.

The closest they would come since would be at 47-55 behind a Terrence Fortea triple at the midway mark of the third quarter, but Croatia quickly countered with a 16-2 blast to turn the tide back in its favor.

Fortea contributed 14 points in the loss. Big men Carl Tamayo and Raven Cortez then merged for 25 markers and 11 rebounds.

Mated Rujan paced the Croatians with 16 points, four rebounds, and three assists while Matej Bosnjak chipped in 14 markers of his own.

It doesn’t get any easier for Batang Gilas as up next for them is seventh-ranked France on Monday (Philippine time).

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