Gilas Pilipinas dropped to three straight losses to settle for fourth place against Tunisia, 68-80, to officially end its 10th King Abdullah Cup campaign, Sunday night at the Prince Hamzah Sport Hall in Amman, Jordan.

/ 2 August 2021

The youth-laden men’s team will be going back to the country with a fourth-place finish as it fell to a 2-4 slate while Tunisia bagged the bronze medal in the King Abdullah Cup in Jordan.

Without naturalized player Ange Kouame, the Filipino squad could not just overpower the backcourt tandem of Jawher Jawadi and Omar Abada who broke Gilas’ defense and salvaged a podium finish. 

Gilas rallied from 16 points 64-48, and managed to cut the lead down to just three, 69-66, capped by a basket from Thirdy Ravena with only 4:22 minutes left on the clock.

However, Cebuano forward Carl Tamayo was called for an unsportsmanlike foul that enabled Tunisia to regain control to pull ahead once again, 74-66, with 2:40 remaining.

Abada’s free throws racked an 11-2 to seal the win that included Jawher Jawadi who also delivered five quick points to finish a game high-21 points off the bench on a near-perfect 8-of-9 clip and a pristine 3-of-3 from three.

Abada finished right behind Jawadi with 19 points and six assists.

The Philippine squad boosted a quick 7-0 start but Tunisia slowly kept up with the Filipinas and rallied a 15-4 sprint to finish the first quarter to grab the 23-18 lead that turned out to be a 26-6 response bridging through the 5:49 mark of the second for the 34-20 lead.

The Tunisians consistently managed a 16-point gap, 64-48, with 1:56 left in the third frame before Gilas orchestrated a run in the fourth quarter but eventually fell short. 

SJ Belangel was the lone Filipino player who scored double-digits with 12 points, followed by Isaac Go, who started at center for the benched Ange Kouame, contributed with nine markers off 3-of-6 triples.

Gilas exits the Jordan tilt winning only two games out of their six games. They recently lost to Jordan, 84-74, on Sunday night losing their chance to play for the championship. 

The scores: 

Tunisia 80 – Jawadi 21, Abada 19, Ghayaza 9, Lahiani 9, Gannouni 8, Bouallegue 6, Marnaoui 2, Addami 2, Yahia 2, Chihi 2.

Gilas Pilipinas 68 – Tamayo 14, Belangel 12, Go 9, Ramos 7, Baltazar 6, Ravena 6, Suerte 6, Ma. Nieto 3, Abarrientos 3, Ildefonso 2, Navarro 0, Chiu 0, Heading 0, Mi. Nieto 0.

Quarters: 23-18, 42-34, 64-53, 80-68.