Gilas Pilipinas broke free from a tight first half to subdue Saudi Arabia, 76-63, to sweep its two-game assignment in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah early morning on Monday, Nov. 14 (Philippine time).
Gilas got a good follow-up of its 74-66 drubbing of Jordan last Friday to hike its record to 5-3 (win-loss) in Group E.
Gilas also repeated over Saudi as it beat the same team last August at the Mall of Asia Arena, 84-46.
The Filipinos were favored against the host team but it took them a strong second half showing to go home victorious.
Saudi engaged Gilas in a nip and tuck battle and even took a 16-12 lead late in the period.
Gilas rallied and tied the contest at 16-all at the end of the first canto before outscoring Saudi in the next period, 15-9, to build a 31-25 lead at the half.
Gilas finally played true to form at the start of the third. They started the period with seven straight points while Saudi didn’t score for almost three minutes, allowing the Filipinos to post a 38-25 lead.
Roger Pogoy then dropped two straight triples that gave Gilas its biggest lead of the match, 50-34.
Gilas took a 55-45 lead into the payoff period and never looked back from that point on.
Pogoy and Dwight Ramos both scored 13 points to lead Gilas, while Kai Sotto delivered 11 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.
CJ Perez was the third Gilas in double digits with 10 points.Mathna Almarwani tallied a game-high 19 points to lead Saudi Arabia, which tasted its sixth loss in eight outings in Group E.
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