WATCH: Scottie Thompson – Kai Sotto connection!
Gilas Pilipinas completed a road sweep in the 5th window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers by taking down host Saudi Arabia, 76-63, Monday at the Filipino-filled King Abdullah Sports City Gym in Jeddah.
The Philippine national basketball team, which earlier defeated Jordan in their home turf, improved to 5-3 with their 3rd consecutive victory while the loss was the 6th in 8 outings for the Saudis.
The window sweep was the first for the Filipinos since 2019 when Gilas defeated Qatar (84-46) and Kazakhstan (93-75) in the final window to clinch a seat in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
“Well, first of all, kudos to the Saudi national team. I thought they played hard and came in with a very good game plan. We expected it,” said Gilas head coach Chot Reyes. “We knew the high quality of this team and we had mentally prepared ourselves to struggle, coming off a tough game against Jordan and a tough trip. Luckily, we stayed patient through our early struggles.”
“I think we got a lot of energy from the crowd. They really gave us a huge boost and did not allow us to lose until we hit our stride, and hit our shots in the third quarter. And then we were able to use our defense essentially to pull off the victory,” he added.
Dwight Ramos and Roger Pogoy paced Gilas with 13 points apiece while Kai Sotto and CJ Perez added 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
Reigning PBA MVP Scottie Thompson chipped in 9 points and 9 rebounds while Ray Parks added 8 points and 6 boards.
Gilas will close out the Asian Qualifiers with a pair of home games in February next year – Lebanon on the 24th and then Jordan on the 27th.