Canada 102, Philippines 62… Holding the Philippines without a field goal for the first 12 minutes of the game, Canada put on a dominant defensive performance in advancing to the quarter-finals of the FIBA U17 World Cup 2018 in Argentina. Canada had 8 offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone to establish a 19 point lead and was off and running, growing the lead to 30+ and leading by 25 at the half using their entire bench. Later Canada closed the game on a big run to win by 40.
It may have been worse had referees not whistled the Canadians for 7 fouls in the first quarter alone. Philippines tried to slow Canada with a zone defense early in the second but 6’6″ Addison Patterson knocked down a three from the left wing and 5’11” Shemar Rathan-Mayes diced into the zone to find 6’7″ Ben Krikke (9 of his 13 points in the first half) for easy lay-ups and the route was on.
6’7″ Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe led the way with 22 points and 11 rebounds while 6’4″ Luka Sakota added 11 as Canada shot 10-25 (40%) from three.
Philippines were generally out classed especially at the guard and wing spots, unable to deal with constant Canadian ball pressure and wing denials however 7’2″ long-armed lefty Kai Sotto appears to have a very bright future, flashing a mature, versatile offensive game. Sotto, who just turned 16 (born 2002 and playing underage at this tournament) is already garnering references as the next Yao Ming. While those comparisons may be a bit stretched at present – the youngster remains relatively thin and not yet a factor protecting the rim – Sotto does run the floor well, looks to seal and make contact in and around the paint and showed off some decent offensive skills, making a string of tough-to-stop turnarounds, was a willing and able passer when doubles came hard and even stepped out blew past a Canadian post defender from 15 feet and hammered it home one-handed. Sotto (16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks) also has nice form on his free throws. With natural physical growth and game maturation/experience, Sotto looks like a legitimate international offensive talent as multi-skilled forward/center.
Canada will now face Australia, 74-65 winners over Mali in another round-of-16 matchup on Friday (tomorrow is an off-day). Game time has not been determined as of yet. While Canada did edge the Aussies in a pre-tournament game last week, Australia has had their fair share of tough games already in the tournament – today’s game against Mali was a one-point game with 4 minutes to go and a three point game with one minute left. As well, all three of Australia’s preliminary round matches were two-point games: wins against Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and a two-point loss to Turkey.