Gilas Pilipinas could not muster a comeback this time and bowed to Jordan-A, 84-72, to conclude the elimination round of the 10th King Abdullah Cup, Saturday (Manila time) at the Prince Hamzah Sport Hall in Amman.
The Filipino cagers lost a double-digit lead in the first half as they fell victim to the Jordanians’ third quarter explosion. They never recovered since then, and the home team clinched the no. 2 seed heading into the semifinals.
The match was practically a preview of the knockout stage as the Tab Baldwin-mentored unit finished as the third seed with a 2-2 record. Their semis meeting will be on Sunday midnight (Manila time).
Jordan Heading led Gilas with 15 points, going 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Carl Tamayo made 14 points, Rey Suerte scored 13. as Justine Baltazar chimed in 10 markers and six rebounds in the defeat.
It was Tamayo who gave the Philippine team its biggest lead of the game at 11, 32-21, approaching the midway mark of the second quarter. They remained in the driver’s seat heading into the break with a 41-36 lead.
But then, the Jordanians woke up in the third. Led by Ahmad Al Dwairi, they opened the period with 11 unanswered points to put themselves ahead by six, 47-41, with 7:02 on the clock.
Gilas stopped the bleeding for a while but the hosts’ onslaught could not be contained. A 17-6 blitz behind the efforts of Al Dwairi, Cameron Forte, and Amin Abu Hawwas stretched their lead to 64-49 with 2:19 to go.
Gilas still showed some signs of life before the end of the third, and continued as much in the final frame. Heading’s triple and four consecutive points by Tamayo trimmed the deficit to just seven, 63-70, with 4:47 to spare.
That, however, would be the closest they could get. Forte replied with five straight points to re-establish their twin-digit cushion. 75-63, with 3:29 to go. Their lead even ballooned to as high as 17.
Al Dwairi led Jordan-A with 23 points and nine rebounds. Naturalized player Forte churned out a double-double of 22 points and 11 boards. Abu Hawwas and Fadi Mustafa each had 12 markers in the win.
Philippines 72 — Heading 15, Tamayo 14, Suerte 13, Baltazar 10, Kouame 5, Go 5, Ravena 4, Ildefonso 3, Abarrientos 3, Ramos 0, Belangel 0, Navarro 0, Mi. Nieto 0, Ma. Nieto 0, Chiu 0.
Jordan-A 84 — Al Dwairi 23, Forte 22, Mustafa 12, Abu Hawwas 12, Bzai 6, Alhamarsheh 3, Kanaan 3, Darwish 3, Abdeen 0, Hussein 0, Abuwazaneh 0, Obeid 0, Hazaimeh 0.
Quarterscores: 16-18, 41-36, 56-67, 72-84.