By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
BOCAUE – Jordan overcame a Gilas Pilipinas comeback and won, 91-90, in their FIBA World Cup Qualifiers clash on Monday night at the Philippine Arena.
A red-hot first half turned out to be just enough for the Jordanians as Gilas could not complete a comeback from 25 points down.
Jordan sizzled early on and raced to a 33-14 first-quarter lead.
Although Gilas made some feelers in the second quarter, Jordan finished the quarter strong to enter halftime leading, 60-41.
Gilas pulled off a huge second-half comeback and even tied the game multiple times, the last at 88-all with 1:48 left.
However, a free throw from Freddie Ibrahim off a Scottie Thompson away-from-ball foul plus a Caden Alnajdawi dunk afterward put Jordan up for good, 91-88, with 1:42 remaining.
Justin Brownlee kept Gilas in the game with a mid-range jumper with 1:30 left even as Gilas forced crucial stops later on.
Thompson had a chance to redeem himself, but he missed two free throws that could have given Gilas the lead with 31.3 left.
Gilas nearly forced a 24-second violation on Jordan, though, in the next play and had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Ray-Ray Parks missed a bank shot from mid-range at the final buzzer.
Dar Tucker led Jordan with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and two assists, while Freddy Ibrahim added 19 points, one rebound, eight assists, and two steals for Jordan.
Brownlee exploded for 41 points, 29 in the second half, 12 rebounds and three assists for Gilas.
Both Gilas and Jordan have already qualified for the FIBA World Cup proper prior to the game. (PNA)