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GIlas bounces back after sluggish Q1 to pummel Saudi Arabia

Jordan Clarkson exploded anew for Gilas in his home debut. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Gilas Pilipinas recovered after an uncharacteristic slow start to blow by Saudi Arabia, 84-46, in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Arabians somehow silenced the sold-out crowd of 19,829 fans, which included no less than President Bongbong Marcos, early on after forcing Gilas to a sluggish first quarter, but the home side exerted its might in the final half-hour to secure the blowout win.

Despite a hot three-point shooting from Jordan Clarkson, which included a long tom from almost the halfcourt line to beat the buzzer, Gilas found themselves trailing, 11-14, against Saudi Arabia.

However, Gilas found their offensive rhythm in the second quarter, outscoring the Arabians, 26-14, to take a 37-28 halftime lead.

Gilas then held Saudi to just eight third-quarter points to put the outcome beyond doubt.

Clarkson led Gilas, now 3-3 in Group E play, with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting including 5-for-7 from three-point range, five rebounds, and six assists.

Kai Sotto added 16 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks.

Khalid Abdel-Gabar, Mathna Almarwani, and Musab Kadi each had nine points for Saudi Arabia, which fell to 1-5.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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