Gilas Pilipinas wins for the third time in a row to advance to the quarterfinals of the King Abdullah Cup in Jordan.
Thirdy Ravena’s late free throw and Ange Kouame’s big plays late in the match helped Gilas Pilipinas beat African powerhouse Tunisia 74-73 in overtime on Friday (Manila time) at Prince Hamza Hall in Amman, Jordan.
After Ravena split his two free throws with nine seconds left, naturalized center Kouame put the game away with a game-winning block on Achref Gannouni with just three seconds left.
Ravena had seven points, three rebounds, and two assists, while Kouame had 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and five blocks.
Dwight Ramos resumed his all-around brilliance with 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, two swats, and a steal, while SJ Belangel had 10 points and four assists. Isaac Go energized the bench with eight points.
From start to end, the game was a back-and-forth battle, with Tunisia leading by four points in the fourth quarter, 53-49, after a last-minute 7-0 surge.
At the 6:30 mark of the payoff period, Tunisia led by eight points, 59-51, until Gilas rallied with a vital 9-2 run highlighted by a Kouame basket at the two-minute mark to pull within one point, 60-61.
With less than a minute left in regulation, Gannouni increased Tunisia’s advantage to three, 66-63, but Rey Suerte blasted a clutch tying triple off an SJ Belangel handoff with 37 seconds left to force OT, 66-all.
In the extra period, late Tunisia free throws and an Ahmed Addami layup tied the score at 73-all before Gannouni committed a crucial foul that sent Ravena to the line for the win.
Oussama Marnaoui led all scorers with 19 points, on 3-of-9 shooting from deep, alongside eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals, while Gannouni led the bench with 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting.
The other four teams in the five-country, week-long event have officially clinched a quarterfinal berth after Saudi Arabia’s loss to Egypt earlier in the day.
Holding an identical 2-1 card, Gilas Pilipinas and Jordan-A, the host country, will finish the elimination round at 12 AM on Saturday, July 31 (Manila time), to determine the quarterfinal seeds.
The winner of the said match could also snare the top seed depending on the outcome of the game between Tunisia (1-2) and Egypt (3-0) earlier in the day.
Gilas Pilipinas 74 – Kouame 12, Ramos 11, Belangel 10, Go 8, Ravena 7, Ma. Nieto 7, Baltazar 5, Tamayo 5, Suerte 5, Heading 3, Navarro 1, Ildefonso 0, Chiu 0.
Tunisia 73 – Marnaoui 19, Gannouni 16, Ochi 10, Jawadi 9, Lahiani 6, Chihi 5, Bouallegue 4, Yahia 2, Addami 2.
Quarters: 15-14, 36-31, 49-53, 66-66, 74-73.