FIBA U-19 World Cup: Batang Gilas loses to powerhouse Greece (VIDEO REPLAY)

MANILA, Philippines – Batang Gilas absorbed its first loss at the FIBA U-19 World Cup tournament against host Greece, 85-69 and braces for another misfortune as AJ Edu seriously hurt his knees on June 30, 2019 at the Heraklion Arena in Greece.
FIBA U-19 World Cup: Batang Gilas loses to powerhouse Greece

Kai Sotto single-handedly manned the rim as his “Twin Tower” partner, AJ Edu injured his knees
Kai Sotto single-handedly manned the rim as his “Twin Tower” partner, AJ Edu injured his knees and Batang Gilas lost versus Greece | Photo Credit: Philstar

7’2 Kai Sotto easily found his rhythm in the first 2 minutes of the game. The young Sotto crushed and won significant boards against the tall Greeks and dropped a couple of baskets.

AJ Edu too had a terrific start with a thunderous block and few rebounds. At 7:58 mark of the 1st period however, Edu hurt his knee while on his way to the basket and was carried off the court immediately.

The 6’10 Fil-Nigerian didn’t shoot his free throws and a clear sign that he’s seriously hurt and will more likely miss the entire game and possibly the entire tournament.

Along with Sotto, Shaun Ildenfonso played excellent basketball and helped his team secure a 27-20 lead after the opener.

As expected, the Greeks came back strong in the 2nd quarter and immediately outscored the Filipinos, 8-1 in less than 2 minutes.

Philippines felt AJ Edu’s absence as Greece not only outscored the Filipinos but outrebounded them too.

Kai Sotto had a bad fall after aiming to block a shot. Sotto stood up but went out of the floor limping and didn’t return to finish the 2nd quarter.

6’9 Geo Chiu, being the last big man available had no other choice but to step up and fill out the void which Sotto and Edu had left.

Despite missing the services of its big men in most of the 1st half, Batang Gilas held onto its ground and was only behind by Greece by just a point, 42-41.

After getting some rest, Kai Sotto returned to action with a two-handed slam as Team Pilipinas started the 3rd period.

Filipino-Italian Dalph Panopio is active on the team’s roster but was totally quiet offensively. Panopio’s explosiveness could’ve been a great help for the Philippines while missing the scoring prowess of AJ Edu.

Batang Gilas slightly slowed down and trailed the Hellas 63-57 at the end of the third.

Greece reached its first double-digit of the game, 67-57 as the final canto of the game unfolded.

Sotto despite his 2-month strength and conditioning training in the US felt the fatigue as the 4th quarter clock winded down and with his team still behind by double-figures.

The Greeks maintained their advantage until the final buzzer sounded and the Filipinos tasted their first defeat of the tournament, 85-69 versus the hosts.

WATCH: Greece v Philippines - FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2019 (video courtesy of YouTube/FIBA)

Batang Gilas will face another powerhouse team, Argentina tomorrow, July 1, 2019 at 1:00AM.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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