Gilas averts collapse vs Jordan, finishes seventh in FIBA Asia Cup

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A struggling Gilas Pilipinas side found its stride late, dropping a game-changing 10-0 run in the final 90 seconds to scrape Jordan past, 75-70, and secure the seventh place in a disappointing 2017 FIBA Asia Cup campaign in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday night. (PH time).

The Philippines, who was blown by Korea and host Lebanon out in its last two games, was in danger of having tied its worst finish since the 2009 edition when it found itself trailing 65-70, with over a minute left, after leading by as much as eight points early in the game.

But Terrence Romeo, the Philippines’ leading scorer all-tournament long, took over once again at the clutch, hitting a trey then assisting a Japeth Aguilar’s go-ahead basket with 20 seconds left to help the Philippines escaped a gutsy Jordanian side.

Romeo spent the night missing shot after shot but found his range just in time to finish with 13 points, while Matthew Wright added the same output as the former, including the two freebies with 10 seconds left that put the Philippines ahead, 73-70.

Carl Bryan Cruz also had nine points, while Kapampangans Jayson Castro and Japeth Aguilar tallied eight apiece with the former adding eight assists and the latter grabbing seven boards in the victory that saved Gilas Pilipinas’ pride.

The Philippines struggled with its shot as it converted just 34 percent of its attempts, including 9 of 30 from beyond the arc, but made up for this by limiting itself to just nine turnovers while forcing the Sam Daghlas-mentored Jordan to 16 miscues that were translated to 18 points.

The Filipinos, who opened up the tournament with a sweep of its group, blew a 65-59 lead midway through the fourth quarter when Jordan dropped an 11-0 run capped by Mousa Alawadi’s basket with 1:47 left to take a crucial five-point lead.

Then Romeo took the matters into his hands as the Filipinos averted a collapse to give a fitting end to their up-and-down campaign in the biennial Asian meet.

Alawadi led Jordan with 21 points, including four triples, but Jordan’s bench failed to rise to the occasion, getting outscored by the Filipinos’, 38-6.

The scores:
Philippines 75 – Romeo 13, Wright 13, Cruz 9, Aguilar 8, Castro 8, Abueva 6, Norwood 5, Almazan 4, Jalalon 4, Fajardo 3, Pogoy 2.
Jordan 70 – Alawadi 21, Hussein 13, Alhamarsheh 12, Abdeen 10, Abu Hawwas 8, Zaghab 3, Eid 0, Abuwazaneh 0.
Quarterscores: 17-17; 35-27; 58-53; 75-70