GILAS Pilipinas completed a sweep of its two games in the fifth window of the 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers after clipping Saudi Arabia, 76-63, on Monday (Manila time) at King Abdullah Sports City.
Coach Chot Reyes got plenty of heroes from his lineup led by Dwight Ramos, who scored the last four points to put the finishing touches to a hard-earned win against a pesky Saudi Arabian side in Jeddah.
[READ: Dwight gives Gilas a little breathing room at halftime]
Although the Philippines failed to replicate a 84-46 blowout led by Jordan Clarkson at the Mall of Asia Arena in the last window, it still completed a sweep of the Saudis in the qualifiers.
Coming off a morale-boosting win over Jordan three days earlier, Gilas hiked its record to 5-3 ahead and built plenty of confidence heading to its home games against Lebanon and Jordan in February next year.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, fell to 2-6 in Group E.
Ramos finished with 13 points, four assists, and three assists, with his late three to end the first half giving the Pinoys a big jolt to stage a killer third quarter.
Roger Pogoy found his rhythm in that canto, drilling three treys to catapult the Philippines to its biggest lead at 16, 50-34.
Saudi Arabia, though, proved to be tougher to crack than the side that got buried by an avalanche of baskets by Clarkson and Co. just months ago as Mathna Almarwani kept the hosts in the game, 69-61, with 2:02 to play.
But Scottie Thompson, Kai Sotto, and Ramos made sure that there won't be any meltdowns as they took the Pinoys home with their cool shooting from the charity stripe.
Pogoy wound up with 13 points and four boards, Sotto had 11 points, nine rebounds, five blocks, two dimes, and one steal, and Thompson almost posted a double-double of nine points, nine boards, three assists, and two steals.
CJ Perez also gave the Philippines a lift, scoring six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, alongside his four rebounds to make up for committing five of the team's 15 turnovers.
This certainly wasn't the blowout that many fans expected, with the influence of Dutch coach Johan Roijakkers evident on the attack of Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi stayed in step with the Filipinos for the majority of the game thanks to its 10 fastbreak points and 13 second chance points.
Almarwani had the biggest impact for the home team with his 19 points on 5-of-10 shooting from distance, to go with eight rebounds, as Khalid Abdel Gabar adding 16 points from three three-pointers, as well as five boards, five assists, and two steals.
PHILIPPINES 76 - Ramos 13, Pogoy 13, Sotto 11, Perez 10, Thompson 9, Parks 8, Aguilar 6, Kouame 5, Malonzo 1, Oftana 0, Erram 0, Quiambao 0.
SAUDI ARABIA 63 - Ma. Almarwani 19, Abdel Gabar 16, Mo. Almarwani 8, Kadi 6, Aljohar 5, Ashoor 4, Shubayli 2, Mohammed 2, Belal 1, Saleh 0, Almuwallad 0, Albargawi 0.
Quarters: 16-16, 31-25, 55-45, 76-63.