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King’s Cup: Ravena’s free throw carries Gilas past Tunisia in OT

Gilas Pilipinas stunned Tunisia in overtime, 74-73, in the 10th King Abdullah Cup, Friday (Manila time) at the Prince Hamzah Sport Hall in Amman, Jordan.

Thirdy Ravena split his charities with 9.1 seconds left to play. Then the rest of the Filipino dribblers stepped it up on defense afterward to complete their conquest of the 2017 AfroBasket gold medalists for their second win of the tourney.

Gilas improved to 2-1, and has a chance to enter the semifinals as the no. 2 seed when it battles Jordan-A later at 12 a.m. Both squads are carrying similar records as the hosts suffered a 67-79 defeat to Egypt (3-0) last Wednesday.

Ange Kouame top-scored for the Philippines with 12 points, along with seven rebounds, five assists, and a game-high five blocks. Dwight Ramos supplied 11 points, as SJ Belangel chipped in 10 markers and four dimes.

Gilas was actually ahead by nine late in the second period, only to lose control in the next frame. The Tunisians even enjoyed an eight-point lead, 59-51, following Mohamed Fares Ochi’s jumper with 6:29 to go in the fourth.

Tab Baldwin’s wards, though, managed to snap out of their funk. Down five approaching the midway mark, Kouame kick-started a fiery run ended by Rey Suerte’s trey to tie the game at 66-all with 34 seconds to go.

Tunisia tried to regain the upper hand but missed. Gilas then secured the board. Ramos had a chance to win, it but his shot was way off.

The tight affair continued in the extra period but Carl Tamayo came up big, sinking a fallaway jumper to break a 69-all deadlock with 1:40 to go. Ravena followed it up with a pull-up moments later to extend the lead to four.

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Too wily, however, were their counterparts. Firas Lahiani first calmly sank both of his foul shots. Ahmed Addami’s lay-up off a strong drive tied things up once more at 73-all with only 14.2 seconds left in the game.

But then, Lady Luck seemed to have smiled on Gilas, as Ravena was fouled seconds later that sent him to the line. He made just one of his freebies, and the Tunisians tried to capitalize on their next possession.

Unfortunately for them, the youth-laden crew was locked in on defense, and they weren’t able to set up a good look as time expired.

Isaac Go also had a significant contribution in the win, scoring eight points on 3-of-3 shooting, including two triples. Ravena added seven.

Meanwhile, Oussama Marnaoui led Tunisia with 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in the loss that dropped their card to 1-2. Achref Gannouni and Fares Ochi made 16 and 10 markers, respectively.

The Scores:

Philippines (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.

Quarterscores: 15-14, 36-31, 49-53, 66-66, 74-73.

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