Batang Gilas escapes Egypt

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Batang Gilas Team (Photo courtesy of FIBA)

Batang Gilas finally hammered a victory when it escaped Egypt, 70-69, in the classification battle for 13th to 16th places of the FIBA U17 World Cup Sunday at the University Stadium in Santa Fe, Argentina.

The victory didn’t come easy.

After taking a 20-point lead, 39-19, the Egyptians crawled back until slicing it down to one, 66-67, courtesy of Omar Tarek Smari’s charities in the final 55 seconds.

Fortunately, Kai Sotto managed to sink three of the four free throws in the dying seconds to wide the gap to four, 70-66, only 1.7 seconds left.

Although Mazen Ibrahim drained a three-pointer at the buzzer, it hardly mattered as the Nationals already secure the precious victory in the most prestigious age-group basketball tourney in the world.

The 7-foot-1 Sotto continues his surge as he tallied 28 points, 17 rebounds, two assists and three blocks while Gerry Abadiano had 15 markers and Forthsky Padrigao and Raven Cortez delivered 10 points apiece.