Philippines U16 generation definitely not your father’s Batang Gilas


FIBA reports that 2001-02-born U16 Philippines generation definitely not your father’s Batang Gilas.

Basketball fans looking forward to the FIBA U16 Asia Championship 2017 should brace themselves for a very uncommon sight – namely a Philippines team that could tower over their opponents. Filipinos are well known for their boundless enthusiasm for basketball. The country’s general lack of height, however, has kept their puso for hoops from being rewarded with major international success. But that just might change thanks to a generation of young Philippine players ready to fully capture the hearts of their basketball junkie compatriots.

Kai Sotto towered over the competition at the SEABA U16 Championship 2017in leading Philippines to the title and a berth at the FIBA U16 Asia Championship 2017. The 6ft 11in (2.10m) Sotto averaged 12.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game – despite playing less than 19 minutes a game. He collected 15 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks in what was essentially the title game in the last game of the round-robin group format tournament – an 83-62 win over Malaysia, who also joined Philippines in reaching the FIBA U16 Asia Championship 2017 field.

But Sotto, who only turned 15 years old on May 11, wasn’t the only tall player on the U16 Batang Gilas roster. Geo Chiu is listed at 6ft 8in (2.02m), Raven Cortez stands 6ft 7in (2.01m) and won’t turn 15 years until late October, while Bismarck Lina and Josh Lazaro are both 6ft 5in (1.95m).


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