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Gilas Pilipinas falls to Tunisia, ends King Abdullah Cup run with a whimper

Gilas Pilipinas ended its King Abdullah Cup campaign with a whimper after falling to Tunisia, 80-68, in the third place match Sunday at the Prince Hamzah Sport Hall in Amman, Jordan.

Carl Tamayo led the Philippines with 14 points on 4-for-9 shooting along with six rebounds off the bench, while SJ Belangel added 12 and four assists for a young Gilas core that finished in fourth place with a 2-4 record after dropping its last three games.

Isaac Go added nine points, four boards, three dimes, a steal and a block, and Dwight Ramos added seven but shot just 3-for-10 from the field against Tunisia, which also redeemed itself from a one-point overtime loss to this same Gilas team just two nights ago.

Go and Belangel powered a strong 7-0 start for the Philippines, but the Tunisians outscored Gilas 23-11 the rest of the first quarter to set the tone for a game they would lead up until the final buzzer.

Tunisia stayed in control the next two quarters and even padded the advantage to as many as 16, 64-48, late in the third period until a late Gilas fightback threatened to turn the game around.

Right after Tunisia took its biggest lead of the game, Gilas unleashed an 18-5 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to chop the lead down to three, 69-66, with 4:35 remaining in the game.

Tunisia proved steadier in the endgame as Jawher Jawadi and Omar Abada scored the next nine points for a 78-68 lead that steered the 2017 FIBA AfroBasket champions to safety down the stretch.

Jawadi put up 21 points on 8-for-9 shots and hit all three of his 3-pointers off the bench, while Abada had 19 and six assists for Tunisia, which shot a solid 47 percent from the field.

Gilas, which played without naturalized big man Ange Koaume in the final game of the tournament, made only 39 percent of its shots and went a paltry 7-for-24 (29.1 percent) from long range.

THE SCORES

TUNISIA 80 -- Jawadi 21, Abada 19, Ghayaza 9, Lahiani 9, Gannouni 8, Bouallegue 6, Marnaoui 2, Addami 2, Yahia 2, Chihi 2.

PHILIPPINES 68 -- Tamayo 14, Belangel 12, Go 9, Ramos 7, Baltazar 6, Ravena 6, Suerte 6, Ma. Nieto 3, Abarrientos 3, Ildefonso 2, Navarro 0, Chiu 0, Heading 0, Mi. Nieto 0.

Quarters: 23-18, 42-34, 64-53, 80-68.