Philippines, Lebanon, New Zealand and Korea complete U16 Asia Quarter-Finals
In the process, all four teams also stayed alive in the hunt for the four remaining open berths to the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup in Argentina later this year.
Here is how things went down.
In the first game, the Philippines imposed their size on hapless Hong Kong to get their first easy win of the tournament, 103-61. Twin towers Kai Sotto and Geo Chiu paired up to record 22 points and 20 rebounds for Batang Gilas, which bounced back from an embarrassing loss to Australia on Day 3. Forthsky Padrigao also did well quarterbacking for the Filipinos, tallying 11 points along with 6 assists and 4 boards. Tsz Kit Lung led Hong Kong with 18 points in the losing effort. The Philippines face Japan in the Quarter-Finals.
The second fixture saw Lebanon outlast Chinese Taipei in a see-saw battle, 82-78. In a game that saw 10 lead changes, it was Lebanon that came out on top by the endgame thanks to their overwhelming edge in rebounding and inside scoring. The U16 Cedars, who will play China tomorrow, outrebounded Chinese Taipei, 64-42, and outscored them in the paint, 54-38, with Andre Tannoury's 13-point, 15-rebound double-double standing out. Yousef Khayat and Alex Zanbaka also impressed with their combined output of 23 points and 16 boards. Chang An-Cheng and Chen Chiang-Shuang each dropped 13 points for defending finalists Chinese Taipei.
The third encounter had New Zealand cruising past Malaysia, 79-42. In a game characterized by stingy defense, the U16 Tall Blacks were the ones who finally found their rhythm and punched their way into the Quarter-Finals, where they will face Iran. Burly bigs Mitch Dance and Shalom Broughton flexed their muscle inside for New Zealand, each scoring 13 points to spearhead their attack. Another frontliner, Jake McKinlay also scored in double-digits with 11 points in 23 minutes. Not much went right for Malaysia in this one, with scoring machine John Tang the only bright spot as he earned 17 points on the back of 5 three-pointers.
In the nightcap, Korea outclasses Macau, 116-43, to formalize their entry into the Quarter-Finals, where title favorites Australia lie in wait. The Macanese provided stiff resistance in the first five minutes of the ballgame, but when Korea found their groove, there was just no slowing them down anymore. Kim JaeWon was the victors' best player with 24 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals and 5 assists, while Keenan Navalta tossed in 20 points for Macau. JaeWon led seven Koreans in double-figure scoring, which included Park JunHyeong, Kim DongHyun and Moon JeongHyeon among others.
The winners of the four Quarter-Finals games will advance to the Semi-Finals and qualify for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup.