Gilas Youth face Kazakhstan in must-win game
Published on June 15, 2022

Gilas Pilipinas Youth still have a chance to enter the quarterfinals of the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2022.

The Philippines will face Kazakhstan on Thursday at 8:45 PM to book a ticket to the next stage of the tournament. Waiting in the quarterfinals is Australia, who finished the group phase with an immaculate 3-0 record. 

The national team endured a tough defeat at the hands of Japan on Tuesday night, relegating them to the qualification phase after finishing second place in Group C with a 1-1 record. They won easily against Kuwait, 82-45, before surrendering a 73-67 decision to Japan. 

Through two games, Zain Mahmood emerged as the team’s leading scorer with 13.0 points per game, to go along with 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks. Jared Bahay has also made a name for himself, amassing 12.0 points, 7.0 boards, 4.5 assists, and 3.0 steals. Meanwhile, Caelum Harris is coming off an 18-point, six-rebound performance against Japan.

Scoring-wise, the Philippines ranks fifth in the tournament, racking up 74.5 points per game. Gilas is shooting 37.9 percent from the field, including a crisp 49.4 percent from the 2-point range. 

One of the strengths of Gilas is its defense, accumulating 12.0 steals after two contests. They had 17 takeaways against Kuwait as they displayed their defensive prowess. Six players are averaging at least one steal, spearheaded by the efforts of Bahay (3.0) and Harris (2.5). 

Gilas is also averaging 15.0 assists (5th) and 47.5 rebounds (7th) after two outings. 

Kazakhstan will lean on its leading scorer Daniil Severgin who is putting up 19.0 points, alongside 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 4.0 steals. He is the team’s lone player averaging double-digits as Temirlan Maksot is right behind with 9.0 points. 

Kazakhstan lost 92–67 against New Zealand and then suffered an 89-59 defeat versus Korea. 

Gilas Pilipinas Youth are targeting at least a semifinals finish to qualify for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2022 which will take place in July. But first, they have to go through Kazakhstan to enter the quarterfinals.