South Sudan shuts door on Gilas' outright Olympic bid with FIBA WC win

South Sudan ended Gilas' hopes for an outright Olympic qualification. Kennelf Monteza
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--South Sudan put the Philippines in serious danger of missing the Olympics men's 5x5 basketball tournament for the 13th straight time by beating Gilas Pilipinas, 87-68, in their FIBA World Cup classification game on Thursday night in front of 9,250 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

South Sudan waxed hot early on but needed to repulse Gilas' second-half rally to secure the win.

South Sudan, despite Rhenz Abando's perimeter defense prowess, caught fire early on and opened a 34-17 lead against Gilas at the end of the first quarter.

Gilas eventually slowed down South Sudan offensively in the next two quarters, and through a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter, they cut South Sudan's lead down to four, 60-56, with 7:28 left.

However, South Sudan managed to finish the fourth strong and finally secure the win.

Carlik Jones led South Sudan, whose own bid to make it to the Paris Olympics also got a major boost, with 17 points, nine rebounds, 14 assists, and two steals.

Majok Deng added 13 points, six rebounds, and one steal, while Wenyen Gabriel put up 11 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, and two blocks.

Jordan Clarkson put up 24 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals, Dwight Ramos added 20 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, and one steal, and AJ Edu had 12 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal for Gilas.

With Japan's win against Venezuela in Okinawa, Gilas will miss outright Paris Olympics qualification and can now only hope to make it to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament to get another shot.

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