Gilas comes alive in the second half to thwart Jordan

The Gilas Pilipinas pushed all the right buttons in the second half to get past Jordan, 74-66, in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers on Friday morning at the Prince Hamza Hall in Amman.

Trailing by four at halftime, 37-41, the Filipinos stepped up on defense and held Jordan to just 10 points in the third on 4-of-17 shooting to take the driver’s seat, 53-45. It was all Gilas from that point as they extended their lead to a high of 14 to snatch the victory that pushed their record to 4-3.

"Obviously we're very happy with the result, and for the game, we really focused on our defense, being able to stop their main players," said Gilas head coach Chot Reyes as his players responded by tallying 11 steals and six blocks against Jordan.

Gilas also held Jordan to just 37% shooting including a miserable 3-of-25 from beyond the arc.

The Gilas also had no trouble sharing the basketball, as they racked up 24 assists.

“We just had fun. It was just selfless basketball. No one really cared who scored. Everybody was happy that everybody was doing their role. It turned out to be a good game and we are happy we got the win,” said 7-foot-3 big man Kai Sotto, who led the way for Gilas with 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.

Bobby Ray Parks also got going early, tallying 11 of his 13 points in the first half to help Gilas stay close. He added two rebounds, two assists, and two steals. CJ Perez also stepped up in the second half and finished with 11 points, five assists, and three boards.

Reigning PBA MVP Scottie Thompson was arguably the most impressive player for Gilas in the game versus Jordan as he flirted with a triple-double of eight points, 13 boards, and eight assists.

Jordan’s naturalized player Dar Tucker carried the offensive load for Jordan with 23 points.

The Gilas will take on Saudi Arabia next. That game will be on Monday.