Mark Angelo Mañez

Manila - Jordan survived a nailbiter in front of a boisterous Philippine Arena crowd as they exacted revenge on Gilas Pilipinas, 91-90, at the final gameday of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Monday.

The win also completed their own revenge plot after losing 66-74 in Amman last August.

Photo Courtesy of Philippine Star

Dar Tucker muscled through their hosts' small ball tactics as he rammed his way to a 22 point-12 board double-double. Freddy Ibrahim and ageless Zaid Abbas backstopped Tucker with their combined 29 points before the latter sat out after fishing his fifth foul in the dying moments.

Jordan tore a page from Gilas' record-tying performance last Friday as they detonated half of their first 24 shots from long range en route to a 60-41 cushion. But they went nearly frozen as they sank to 3-for-20 after Gilas started adjusting defensively.

Naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee tied Andray Blatche's international career high with 41 points across his stat sheet. He also collared 12 boards, 3 dimes and a block in 35 minutes inside the court. Jamie Malonzo was the only other Gilas player to clip double figures with 11.

Reigning PBA Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson went active on defense and collared important possessions before getting fouled by Abbas with less than a minute left. He ended up with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists before missing two pressure-laced charities that would have given the lead.

The hosts had opened several chances of saving home advantage and the win but ended up flubbing with Ray Parks' desperation rattled out. 

GIlas initially led 2-0 after the opening minute when the visiting squad flicked all their long range shots en route to a commanding 33-14 advantage after 10 minutes. Midway through the match, it swelled to as high as 25 points before Gilas slowly chipped away the lead.

It was Brownlee who orchestrated the mammoth comeback as he found hiself running on fumes all game. His last triple sent the partisan crown to a frenzy after tying the game at 81 with under two minutes remaining.

While it remained competitive, it was nonbearing since both teams have already booked their tickets to the big dance which will tip off in late August this year.

Diana Mae Salonoy