Gilas Pilipinas went on a defensive mode in the second half to take the fight out of Jordan, 74-66, in the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers early Friday morning (Manila time) at the Hamza Hall in Amman.
Kai Sotto and Scottie Thompson stood at the forefront of the Filipinos’ defensive ploy starting the third quarter in which the team held the host to just 10 points to take control of a game it trailed by 41-37 at the break.
The 7-foot-3 Australian-based cager led the way for Gilas with 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two block shots as he proved to be a solid presence in the middle while holding his own against Jordan’s 7-foot center Ahmad Al Dwairi.
In all, Gilas outscored Jordan in the third quarter, 21-10, holding the host to a woeful 4-of-17 shooting to take a 58-51 lead heading to the final quarter.
Thompson had an all-around game of eight points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists for Gilas, which improved to a 4-3 record in Group E following back-to-back wins in the qualifiers.
“Obviously, we’re happy with the result, and for the game, we really focused on our defense, being able to stop their main players,” said coach Chot Reyes afterwards.
“We were able to hold them below 70 points, so I think that speaks well of our ability to defend.”