Gilas Pilipinas concludes the King Abdullah Cup with three consecutive losses, as it spirals out of control in the bronze-medal match against Tunisia, 80-68, on Sunday, August 1, at Prince Hamza Hall in Amman, Jordan.
After being in contention for the top seed, Gilas was forced to settle for fourth place with a 2-4 record, while the championship will be decided between Egypt and Jordan, which defeated the Filipinos twice in two days to reach the final.
Without naturalized player Ange Kouame, Gilas Pilipinas were unable to stop Tunisia’s backcourt duo of Jawher Jawadi and Omar Abada, who helped Tunisia revenge a previous loss to Gilas and finish third. The former finished with a game-high 21 points off the bench on a near-perfect 8-of-9 shooting clip including a perfect 3-of-3 from three, while the latter finished with 19 points and 6 assists.
With 14 points and 6 rebounds off the bench, young forward Carl Tamayo led Gilas in scoring, but he was also a game-worst -28 and sparked the Tunisians’ final run in the fourth quarter with an unsportsmanlike foul on Omar Abada at the 4:20 mark.
From a three-point lead, 69-66, Abada’s free throws ignited an 11-2 run capped by five quick points from Jawadi.
Despite a 7-0 start for Gilas that carried over to a 14-8 lead midway through the first quarter, Tunisia took entire control of the game with a massive 26-6 response that lasted until the 5:49 mark of the second quarter for a 34-20 lead.
The Tunisians kept up the pace and built a 16-point lead with 1:56 left in the third quarter, 64-48, before Gilas launched a fourth-quarter rally.
After a Thirdy Ravena basket in the last 4:22, the Filipinos battled back from a 16-point deficit, 64-48, to cut the lead to just three points, 69-66.
With 2:40 remaining, an unsportsmanlike foul against Carl Tamayo halted the Filipino run, allowing Abada and Jawadi to restore order and extend Tunisia’s advantage to 74-66.
With 12 points, SJ Belangel was the only other Filipino in double figures, while Isaac Go, who took over as center for the injured Kouame, scored 9 points on 3-of-6 triples.
In the absence of Kouame, the Philippines narrowly won the battle of the boards, 34 to 33.
Dwight Ramos had seven points and two rebounds, Justine Baltazar had six points, 10 rebounds, and three assists, and Ravena and Rey Suerte each had six points for the Philippines, who were unable to repeat their exciting 74-73 overtime victory over Tunisia last Friday.
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.
Tunisia 80 – Jawadi 21, Abada 19, Ghayaza 9, Lahiani 9, Gannouni 8, Bouallegue 6, Marnaoui 2, Addami 2, Yahia 2, Chihi 2.
Quarters: 23-18, 42-34, 64-53, 80-68.