Batang Gilas missed out on a podium finish in the 2018 FIBA U18 Asia Championship, ending its campaign with a 76-57 loss to China on Saturday in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
Throughout the game, the Filipinos struggled to execute on both ends of the floor, while the Chinese sustained their aggressiveness and composure on their way to claiming the bronze.
Kai Sotto topped with 16 points and eight rebounds for the Philippines, followed by AJ Edu who finished with 14 markers and eight boards. Dave Ildefonso added nine points.
China was off to a rousing start, quickly zooming to a double-digit lead in the first quarter. Behind Michael Wang's explosion, the Chinese padded their cushion to as many as 20 points before ending the half with a 43-26 advantage.
Batang Gilas had a better showing after the break with Sotto and Edu displaying their range in the third frame to spearhead the charge. But China continued its onslaught in the final canto, racing to another 20-point cushion that the Philippines no longer recovered from.
The Chinese moved the ball better as they edged the Philippines, 20-7, in assists. They also shot better from the field at 45.6 percent compared to Batang Gilas' 35.6 shooting clip.
Compared to their first encounter in the group stage, the Filipinos failed to get their groove going as China repeatedly forced them to commit multiple errors. They also lacked the aggressiveness needed to silence their opponents' main weapons in Wang and Jie Xu.
Wang waxed hot with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists, while Xu contributed 18 markers, seven dimes, and five boards in the win.
Despite ending the tournament with back-to-back losses, Batang Gilas still had a remarkable run. By finishing in the top four, the team secured a ticket to next year's FIBA U19 World Cup.