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Gilas Pilipinas blasts Saudi Arabia in King Abdullah Cup

Gilas Pilipinas rebounded from a frigid start to the 2021 King Abdullah Cup by whipping Saudi Arabia, 77-62, in the second game of the tournament Tuesday at the Prince Hamzah Sport Hall in Amman, Jordan.

Justine Baltazar provided a big spark off the bench by scoring 16 points and hitting all four of his triples while handing out four assists and grabbing three rebounds to lead the Philippines.

Isaac Go also came off the bench and threw in 10 and two triples, while Ange Kouame finished with 10, six rebounds, two blocks and assists for Gilas, now 1-1 after successfully bouncing back from a 73-60 defeat to Egypt to open the tournament on Monday.

Baltazar keyed the hot start for the Nationals by scoring 11 and hitting three triples in the first two quarters, where Gilas stayed comfortably in front.

An 8-0 run past the halfway mark of the second quarter even pushed the lead to as many as 17, 43-26, after a Go basket stretched the gap with 2:51 left in the first half.

Gilas shot 16-for-31 (51 percent) and buried 7-for-13 3s (53 percent) during that good start.

The Philippines hardly let up in the third, where Baltazar hit one more three to make it an 18-point game, 65-47, with under a minute to go in the third.

In the fourth quarter, Gilas kept its foot on the gas even with the game already out of reach. Back-to-back baskets from Baltazar and Dwight Ramos extended the advantage to 20, 69-49, and the team held Saudi scoreless for the first five minutes of the payoff period to seal the result.

Dave Ildefonso added eight points and four assists off the bench, Ramos put up seven, five rebounds and four assists, Thirdy Ravena and Jordan Heading tacked on six each in the easy win.

Saudi, now 0-2 in the tournament, leaned on Mohammed Alsuwailem, who scored 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting and added five rebounds in the lopsided loss. Khalid M Abdel Gabar finished with 12, and Nassir Abo Jalas contributed 10.

Gilas will look to make it two in a row with a game on Jordan-B on Thursday at 9 p.m. (Manila time).

THE SCORES

PHILIPPINES 77 -- Baltazar 16, Kouame 10, Go 10, Ildefonso 8, Ramos 7, Ravena 6, Heading 6, Tamayo 5, Navarro 3, Abarrientos 3, Chiu 2, Belangel 1, Suerte 0, Mi. Nieto 0.

SAUDI ARABIA 62 -- Alsuwailem 18, Gabar 12, Jalas 10, Kadi 8, Shubayli 5, Ma. Almarwani 2, Mo. Almarwani 2, Albargawi 2, Alhosawe 2, Belal 1, Alsager 0, Althalabi 0, Brnawi 0.

Quarters: 19-14, 43-30, 65-49, 77-62.