Saudi Arabia find Philippines a little too hot
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship): SEABA champions Philippines were off to an unexpectedly facile triumph against GCC’s top team Saudi Arabia 95-52 in their opening game of the competition in a Group D game on Friday.
Iran, in a repeat result of the 20th FIBA Asia U18 Championship gold medal game, defeated Kazakhstan 105-46 in the other Group D game at the Central Sport Hall.
Philippines coach Olsen Racela, as has been his wont, was content with the win – and the margin of it – and also took some real positives out of the way the team played.
“First of, I am really surprised the way things turned out. I expected a lot more physical and tough game,” he said.
“In fact, we were looking for a physical game to prepare us for the games ahead.”
All Philippines players took to court with 11 of them scoring and the one that didn’t – Mark Olayon – collected 5 rebounds to ensure contribution in the win.
Janus Suarez was the highest scorer with 15 points for Philippines, who brooked no challenge after rushing ahead 23-12 in the first 10 minutes.
“More than the win, I was happy the way we made inroads inside beating their height. I think that’s a very positive sign for us especially when we play taller opponents later on in the competition,” he said.
Wahidi Faqihi’s 19 points was a game-high for Saudi Arabia, but that was the only consolation.