A GAME Batang Gilas side showed up to compete against their more experienced rivals in the Marikina City Basketball League.
The national youth squad came out aggressive despite missing the services of premier big man Kai Sotto, but fell short against R.Lapid’s/Tito Rex, which eked out an 83-77 before a big crowd at the Marikina Sports Center.
Sotto, the 14-year-old, 6’11” son of for former PBA player Ervin Sotto, wasn’t able to play last time out, but the national youth team still got solid games from mainstays RC Calimag and Renz Padrigao, who held their own against their more seasoned rivals composed of ex-D-League players and imports in the collegiate ranks.
Calimag, son of former PBA player Recaredo Calimag, finished with 18 points while Padrigao, team captain of the national youth squad, contributed 16 for the reigning SEABA Under-16 champion Batang Gilas.
But Batang Gilas couldn’t stop Solmane Chabiyo, the prized recruit African import from Colegio de San Lorenzo, who had another double-double performance of 16 points and 10 rebounds to power R. Lapid’s/Tito Rex to its second win in this tournament.
In the other game, ex-pro James Martinez and the rest of L & J Spa cagers made sure they got the job done in hacking out a 104-85 triumph over Madam Tess.
A former player of the Powerade Tigers in the PBA, the sweet-shooting Martinez also got ample support from former Purefoods player Gerwin Gaco, Dennis Villamor, Renz Palma, Mike Ayonayon and JR Taganas, all of them finishing in double figures for L & J.
Gaco, a fan favorite in the PBA, is making his presence felt in the MCBL. He contributed 15 points and pulled down 15 boards in a solid effort.
Villamor chipped in 13, while Palma and Ayonayon had 12 each.
Taganas, a long-time teammate of Martinez, also had a double-double of 10 points and 15 rebounds as L & J clobbered its rivals in the battle of the boards, 63-39.
Ex-pro Paul Sanga led the way for Madam Tess with 26 markers, but failed to get enough support from his teammates.