Sotto, Thompson shine as Gilas Pilipinas upsets Jordan, 74-66, in FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers

Sotto, Thompson shine as Gilas Pilipinas upsets Jordan, 74-66, in FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers

Photo courtesy of Express Info YouTube

MANILA — Gilas Pilipinas buckled down to work on defense in the second half and never looked back in besting Jordan, 74-66, in the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers early Friday morning (Manila time) at the Hamza Hall in Amman.

It was the twin heroics of Kai Sotto and Scottie Thompson that made things work for Filipinos’ defensive thrust right from the whistle of the third.

The Nationals also showed remarkable marksmanship as they padded leads of as high as 10 points in the final half although they were down by four, 41-37, at the break.

The 7-foot-3 Sotto, who is based mostly in Australia, led the way for Gilas in scoring by slamming in 16 points. He also had seven rebounds, two assists, and two block shots as he proved to be a solid presence in the middle while holding his own against Jordan’s 7-foot center Ahmad Al Dwairi.

The Gilasโ€™s shooting prowess greatly showed on the stats as they outscored Jordan by more than half in the third quarter, 21-10.

Cohesive as their defense, Gilas only allowed Jordan to score a woeful 4-of-17 shooting in the same canto to take a 58-51 advantage heading to the fourth.

Thompson had an all-around game of eight points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists for Gilas, which improved to a 4-3 record in Group E following back-to-back wins in the qualifiers.

“Obviously, we’re happy with the result, and for the game, we really focused on our defense, being able to stop their main players,” said coach Chot Reyes afterward.

“We were able to hold them below 70 points, so I think that speaks well of our ability to defend.”

Bobby Ray Parks complemented Sotto in scoring with 13 points, 11 of them coming in the first half when he kept Gilas afloat as Jordan rode on the hot shooting of naturalized player Dar Tucker and Al Dwairi.

CJ Perez added 11 points, five assists, and three rebounds for the Philippines, which faces Saudi Arabia next on Monday morning (Manila time) in Jeddah.

Tucker paced Jordan with 23 points, but only had nine in the second half as Dwight Ramos sacrificed his offense by slowing him down with help from Jamie Malonzo. Ramos shot 2-of-11 from the floor and finished with four points.

Al Dwairi was also cuffed in the final two quarters and ended up with 18 points after scoring 10 in the first half, and 16 rebounds. He likewise was responsible for almost half of the 21 turnovers by the host team.

Jordan fell to a 3-4 record and will face Group E leader New Zealand on Monday. (RG)

The scores:

Philippines (74) – Sotto 16, Parks 13, Perez 11, Thompson 8, Pogoy 7, Ramos 5, Aguilar 5, Erram 4, Malonzo 3, Kouame 2, Oftana 0.

Jordan (66) – Tucker 23, Al Dwairi 18, Bzai 9, H. Abbas 7, Ibrahim 6, Alhendi 3, Alhamarsheh 0, Z. Abbas 0, Hussein 0, Kanaan 0, Alnajdawi 0.

Quarterscores: 21-20; 37-41; 58-51; 74-66.

(ai/mtvn)

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