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    Gilas finishes fourth in Amman as fightback vs Tunisia falls short

    Aug 1, 2021

    GILAS Pilipinas settled for fourth place in the King Abdullah Cup after losing to Tunisia, 80-68, on Sunday at Prince Hamza Hall in Amman.

    Playing without naturalized player Ange Kouame, the Filipinos were unable to find an answer to the backcourt pair of Jawher Jawadi and Omar Abada who helped Tunisia avenge an ealier loss to Gilas and salvage a podium finish.

    Jawadi fired 21 points, six rebounds, and two assists, while Abada dropped 19 points and six rebounds as Tunisia avenged an overtime loss to the Philippines in the preliminaries.

    For the third straight game, Gilas' rally came too late.

    The Filipinos battled back from 16-points down, 64-48, and clipped the lead down to just three, 69-66, after a Thirdy Ravena basket in the final 4:22.

    But an unsportsmanlike foul whistled against Carl Tamayo cooled off that Filipino run, allowing Abada and Jawadi to once again restore order and restore Tunisia's lead to 74-66 with 2:40 to play.

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    Tamayo powered Gilas with 14 points and six rebounds off the bench, as SJ Belangel had 12 points and four assists.

    Isaac Go also had nine points and four rebounds as the Philippines narrowly won the battle of the boards, 34 to 33, in the absence of Kouame.

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    It was eerily similar to the failed fightbacks Gilas had against host Jordan in its last two games, an 84-72 defeat last Saturday in their final elimination game, and an 84-74 semifinals loss the night prior.

    Dwight Ramos had seven points and two boards, Justine Baltazar got six points, 10 rebounds, and three assists, and Ravena and Rey Suerte both scored six each for the Philippines in the losing cause as it couldn't repeat its thrilling 74-73 overtime win over Tunisia last Friday.

    Gilas took a quick 9-2 lead to start the game, but Tunisia slowly recovered and used a 15-4 spurt to finish the first quarter to grab the 23-18 lead, one that snowballed to a 26-6 run bridging the first two frames to take a 34-20 edge and forced the Filipinos to play catch up from there.

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    Doing so turned out to be a tough challenge, especially with the Philippines shooting only 7-of-24 from beyond the arc, a paltry 29-percent, while also allowing Tunisia to score 11 fastbreak points and 16 points off turnovers.

    Gilas exits the Jordan tilt winning only two of its six games, a 77-61 victory over Saudi Arabia and a 90-63 rout of Jordan-B.

    Mokhtar Ghayaza chimed in nine points, five rebounds, and five of Tunisia's 11 steals, as Firas Lahiani also tallied nine points, four assists, and three boards in the win.

    The scores:

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

    PHILIPPINES 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.

    Quarterscores: 23-18; 42-34; 64-53; 80-68.

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