By Adrian Stewart Co
Gilas Pilipinas had a rough debut in the 2021 King Abdullah Cup after suffering a 73-60 defeat at the hands of Egypt on Monday night at the Prince Hamza Hall in Amman, Jordan.
The Thomas Baldwin-mentored national men’s basketball team had a cold shooting game as they went down by double figures early before falling short of its comeback in the second half.
Naturalized center Angelo Kouame spearheaded the Gilas Pilipinas with double-double 13 points and 11 rebounds, while captain George Isaac Go added 13 markers off the bench.
Dwight Ramos made his return from injury with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting, while Ilonggo Ferdinand “Thirdy” Ravena had eight points and eight rebounds for the national squad.
Gilas Pilipinas struggled with their offense in the opening half as they only shot 35-percent from the field, including 4-of-27 shooting from three-point line, to trail by as much as 14 points.
Kouame and Go tried to carry Gilas Pilipinas back in the game in the second half as the two connived on offense to cut Egypt’s lead to 58-64 with under three minutes in the fourth period.
The Egypt, however, answered back with an 8-0 finishing kick, capped off by a three-point conversion by Ali Ahmad with 55 seconds left, to increase the lead to 72-58 and secure the victory.
Amro Mohammad Abd Alhalem led the Egypt offense with 14 points, five assists, and four rebounds in the win, while Omar Saeed Arabei contributed 11 points and four rebounds.
Gilas Pilipinas faced Saudi Arabia last night. They will be back in action against Jordan-B on Wednesday night, Tunisia on Thursday night and Jordan-A on Friday evening.
The top four teams after the elimination round will advance to the knockout semifinals which starts on July 31, while the championship game at the bronze medal match will be on August 1.
EGYPT 73 – Alhalem 14, Arabei 11, Kamal 9, Hussin 6, Saleh 6, Shehata 6, Khlaf 6, Shosha 6, Ahmad 3, Elmekawy 2, Bakhet 2, Abdellatif 1, Abdelgawad 1.
PHILIPPINES 60 – Kouame 13, Go 13, Ramos 9, Ravena 8, Belangel 6, Baltazar 4, Heading 3, Ildefonso 3, Navarro 1, Ma. Nieto 0, Chiu 0, Tamayo 0, Abarrientos 0.
Quarterscores: 13-12; 33-24; 55-43; 73-60./ASC, WDJ