HomeHomeKai Sotto, Scottie Thompson help Gilas beat Jordan in Fiba fifth window

Kai Sotto, Scottie Thompson help Gilas beat Jordan in Fiba fifth window

Scottie Thompson Gilas Pilipinas Jordan Fiba fifth window

Gilas Pilipinas guard Scottie Thompson during a game against Jordan in the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers. Photo by Fiba

MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas got its act together in the second half and turned its finest defensive showing in a long while to prevail over Jordan on the road, 74-66, in Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers early Friday morning (Manila time).

Heroes abounded for the Philippines at Prince Hamza Hall in Amman, but it was 7-foot-2 big man Kai Sotto whose star shone the brightest for the Nationals who captured the first of two wins in the fifth window of the continental showcase.

The youngster, who was the last to join the team’s practices due to his club commitments in Australia, finished with a team-high 16 points that went with seven rebounds, two assists, and a pair of blocks, backstopping the all-around brilliance of Scottie Thompson who flirted with a triple-double, and Ray Parks Jr. who kept the enemy within striking range early into the contest.

“I think number one was familiarity. This is not the first time that we have come together,” said national coach Chot Reyes said when asked about the keys to the game. “Then I think it just manifested itself—the energy and the vibe.”

Parks Jr. had 13 points—11 of which came in the first two frames. While Thompson turned in eight points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists that had the Philippines rising to 4-3 in Group E play of the tournament being utilized to prepare for the World Cup here next year.

Returning members CJ Perez and Ange Kouame were just as big, with the former coming through with 11 points, three rebounds, and five assists, while the naturalized big man asserted himself on defense to help keep the hosts under 25 points, ultimately handing them their first loss at home since 2018.

The win not only afforded the Philippines a chance at tabbing their first-ever road win in the Qualifiers, but it also primed the Nationals for their rematch against Saudi Arabia—a side they picked apart at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay behind Jordan Clarkson last August.

Gilas and the Saudis battle at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on Monday.

“We’re very happy with the result, and for the game, we really focused on our defense, being able to stop their main players,” Reyes said of the outing.

“I think the result—we were able to hold them below 70 points—I think that speaks well of our ability to defend. Our defense carried us to victory,” he added.

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.

Quarters: 21-20, 37-41, 58-51, 74-66.


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