Five takeaways from the FIBA U16 Asian Semi-Finals
FOSHAN (FIBA U16 Asia Championship) - The Semi-Finals Day at the FIBA U16 Asia Championship were full of excitement, and as always, there are a handful of things to break down.
Here are five things that stood out from the U16 Asia Semi-Finals.
We are all Wignesses
Tamuri Wigness came out to ball today. He had his least efficient performance against Korea in the Quarter-Finals, but he busted out in the Semi-Finals against New Zealand. The 6ft 0in (1.82m) point guard was nearly flawless as Australia beat New Zealand, 86-61. Wigness hit 7-of-7 from the 2-point area, 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and 2-of-3 from the free-throw line to finish with 25 points - his highest point total yet of the tournament. There is something great inside Tamuri Wigness, and, for now, we are all Wignesses.
Cool Hand Lukes
They're not twins, but Luke Jackson and Luke Travers have probably gotten Australia's opponents seeing double because of their similar production, play styles and, frankly speaking, hairstyles, too. Both Lukes have played significant roles for the Crocs, who will enter tomorrow's Final undefeated after four games. In each of their fixtures, both Jackson and Travers have registered double-digit efficiency ratings - a clear indicator of their being highly productive. Today against New Zealand, Jackson had 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Travers added 14 points, 8 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. How's that for efficiency, eh?
Sun rises in China
When the Philippines threatened late in the fourth quarter in today's second Semi-Finals match, Sun Haoqin - one of the youngest players in the entire field - rose up to the occasion for China, hitting maybe the biggest three-point play of his budding career thus far. That was the veritable dagger into the Philippines' heart that all but deflated their chances of moving on. As for Sun, it was all in a day's work as he finished the game with 22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals - a sterling effort from one of China's fastest rising yung stars.
A new Terrence in town
When people talk about the Philippines national team also known as Gilas Pilipinas, there's always a mention of Terrence Romeo - the flamboyant playmaker known for wicked pull-up three-pointers and even more wicked ankle-breakers. Hold up, though, because a new Terrence may take over sooner rather than later, and that's no other than Batang Gilas guard Terrence Fortea. Like Romeo, Fortea won't wow anyone with his size - he is only 5ft 11in (1.80m) - but he will wow the crowds with his ball-handling, his passing and his ability to finish around the basket. Today against China, he had his best outing yet, scoring 18 points along with 9 rebounds and 2 triples. More performances like that may just have Romeo looking over his shoulder.
The Philippine Kaiju
Monster game from the Kaiju!!! Kai Sotto posts 28 pts, 21 rebs, 3 blks as he leads Batang Gilas to a pulsating 72-70 win over Japan in FIBA Asia U16 quarterfinals. The win earns the Philippines a slot in the 2018 Fiba World Cup U17. #roadtoargentina #monsterkai pic.twitter.com/l6MF5J75to— Gilas Army (@gilas_army) April 6, 2018
Kaiju is not the most used word in any sports context, but look it up in any urban dictionary and you'll find that it means "overwhelmingly large creature or beast." Why does it matter in this tournament? Well, it matters because that's what a number of Filipino netizens have now used to describe their 7ft 1in (2.16m) wunderkind Kai Sotto, and judging by the numbers the 15-year-old has put up in his last two matches, it seems Kaiju is a perfect moniker for him. Get this, in his last two games (against Japan and China no less), Sotto has averaged 27.0 points, 21.0 rebounds and 4.5 blocks. If those won't make you think "overwhelming," then I don't know what will.