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Gilas stunned by Egypt in King Abdullah Cup play

Isaac Go had a decent showing for Gilas off the bench, but it was not enough to lift the team past Egypt. FIBA/Paul Ryan Tan (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--While the Filipinos were celebrating Hidilyn Diaz's historic gold medal performance in the Tokyo Olympics, Gilas Pilipinas ended up at the wrong side of an upset on Monday night after Egypt pulled off a 73-60 win at the start of the King Abdullah Cup at the Prince Hamzah Sports Hall in Amman.

Egypt, ranked 60th in the world, caught the 31st ranked Gilas on an off night, holding the team to just 24 points in the first half even as it looked to pull away after heading to the fourth quarter with a 55-43 cushion.

Gilas tried to come back and cut the lead down to just six, 64-58, with 3:07 remaining, but Amro Mohammad Abd Alhalem scored on what would be the dagger layup with 2:45 left as it sparked the deciding 8-0 run that helped Egypt finally hold off Gilas.

Alhalem led Egypt with 14 points, four rebounds, five assists, and one steal off the bench.

Omar Saeed Arabei added 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and four rebounds.

Ange Kouame and Isaac Go each made 13 points for Gilas.

The King Abdullah Cup was meant to prepare Gilas and host country Jordan for the FIBA Asia Cup as well as Saudi Arabia for the said tournament's wildcard qualifiers.

The Jordan Basketball Federation decided to push through with the event despite the FIBA Asia Cup's postponement.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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