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Tunisia avenges defeat to Gilas, claims 3rd place in King Abdullah Cup

Jawhar Jawadi helped Tunisia take third place in the King Abdullah Cup. FIBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the King Abdullah Cup came to a sour ending on Sunday after Tunisia handed the team an 80-68 beating in their third place battle at the Prince Hamzah Sport Hall in Amman.

The Tunisians actually withstood a huge comeback bid from their Filipino opponents as they got back their groove just in time.

Tunisia slowly pulled away from Gilas within the first three quarters as it took a 64-53 advantage 30 minutes in.

But Gilas opened the fourth quarter with a bang, going on a 13-5 run capped by back-to-back baskets from Thirdy Ravena to cut the lead down to just three, 69-66, with 4:35 remaining.

Disaster struck in the next play as Carl Tamayo was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, leading to two free throws from Omar Abada that sparked Tunisia's endgame 11-2 rally to finally pull off the blowout.

Jawhar Jawadi put up 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting, six rebounds, and two assists off the bench, while Abada added 19 points, one rebound, six assists, and one steal for Tunisia, which assured that the Arab nations will fill up the King Abdullah Cup podium.

Tamayo finished with 14 points and six rebounds for Gilas, which will take a breather following the postponement of the FIBA Asia Cup.

Ange Kouame, who has been a steady force for Gilas ever since the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, sat out the repechage match.

Dating back to its two matches against Jordan A, Gilas finished the tournament with three straight losses.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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