FIBA U19: Gilas Pilipinas Youth drops opening game to Greece

By Kevin Sox

The U19 team of Gilas Pilipinas failed to sustain a good start, faltering against host Greece, 85-69 in its opening game in the 2019 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in Heraklion.

The Gilas U19 squad came out aggressive in the 1st quarter, opening a double-digit cushion after a 9-2 run which Dalph Panopio capped with 2 free throws for a 22-12 advantage.

However, it was short-lived as the hosts fought back and got in the game in the 2nd frame. Greece scored the first 8 points of the quarter, and held the Philippines without a field goal for close to 6 minutes.

The Philippines played catch up for most of the second half, although kept it close even though struggling from the field.

Free throws by Carl Tamayo made it a 76-69 deficit with only 50 seconds left in regulation, but Greece went on to secure the win with stops and makes from the free throw area.

Kai Sotto topped the nationals with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. Gerry Abadiano also finished with 13 points while Sean Ildefonso added 12 markers.

Nikolaos Arsenopoulos led Greece with 18 pts, including 7/9 from the charity stripe. Aristotelis Sotiriou chipped in a near double-double of 13 points and 9 boards.

Gilas shot only 32.2% from the field and 22.7% from 3-point line.

The Philippines will be back in action on Monday early morning against Argentina.