The Gilas Pilipinas Youth kicked off their campaign in the FIBA Asia Under-16 Championships with a comfortable 82-45 rout of Kuwait, early Tuesday morning at the Gharafa Sports Club Multi-Purpose Hall in Doha.
The young Filipinos got off to a quick start and never trailed, building a double-digit lead just four minutes into the contest off a Jacob Bayla triple that made it 14-4. They led 25-9 after the opening period and were not seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Gilas eventually led by 38 points, as they cruised to victory in their Group C opener.
Leading the way for the Filipinos was 6-foot-6 center Zain Mahmood, who scored 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting on top of five rebounds. Jared Bahay, the team captain, had 12 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, while Krisitna Porter and Jacob Bayla each had 10 points.
The Gilas Youth shot 37.7% from the field but turned Kuwait's 29 turnovers into 28 points. They had a 23-12 advantage in assists.
It will be a quick turnaround for the young group, as they play Japan at 8:45 p.m. today for their second Group C game. Japan crushed Kuwait, 98-33, in their game last Sunday.
The winners of the four groups will advance to the quarterfinals while the second and third-placed teams will play in a knockout phase to determine the other four quarterfinalists.
The semifinalists will qualify to the FIBA Under-17 World Cup in July.