Gilas Pilipinas repeats over Saudi Arabia

Gilas Pilipinas repeats over Saudi Arabia

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MANILA — Unlike the blowout win for the Philippines in their previous encounter last August with Saudi Arabia, the Nationals banked on a fiery second half to complete a repeat performance over the same foe.

And so PH successfully overcame Saudi Arabia anew in the ongoing 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

But unlike its 38-point blowout victory in their first meeting in Manila, Gilas Pilipinas bested the Saudis again, by only 13 points, 76-63.

Indeed, it was not a walk in the park for coach Chot Reyes and his wards but a win is a win and doubly sweet for Gilas Pilipinas as it was at the expense of the host team at their own court, at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Roger Pogoy top-scored for the Filipinos with 13 points and 4 rebounds even as 7-foot behemoth Kai Sotto had 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks while Scottie Thompson chipped in 9 points, 9 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals for Gilas Pilipinas.

Mathna Almarwani and Khalid M Abdel Gabar who netted 19 and 16 points, respectively, carried the load for the Saudis who dropped to 2-6.

The win was the Nationals’ fifth win in eight games, good for third place in Group E behind co-leaders Lebanon and New Zealand (6-1).

It may be recalled that last August 29, the Nationals shoot the daylights out of the Saudis, 84-46, behind the 23-point performance of Jordan Clarkson at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

As co-host of the tournament, PH has already secured a slot in the 2023 FIBA World Cup

The Asian Qualifiers resumes in February 2023 with PH hosting back-to-back games against Jordan (Feb 24) and Lebanon (Feb 27).

In their previous encounter in the fourth window on August 25, PH bowed to Lebanon, 85-81, in Beirut but Gilas Pilipinas atoned for this by beating Jordan, 74-66, in Amman last Friday.

For the sixth window, PH hopes to field two-time PBA Best Import and 5-time champion, Justin Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra, as its naturalized player.

Brownlee needs but a few documents to that effect and SBP officials are confident he can attain Philippine naturalization by February 2023. (I. Amigo/MTVN)

The scores:

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.

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