Misfortune continues for Gilas

Tunisia's Omar Abada (left) tries to take a shot as Raymond Almazan of the Philippines blocks during the Basketball World Cup Group N classification game between Tunisia and Philippines in Beijing on 6 September 2019. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

Gilas Pilipinas’ string of misfortune continues as it suffered a 67-86 loss to Tunisia in the classification phase of the FIBA Basketball World Cup late Friday at the Wukesong Arena in Beijing.

Omar Abada engineered an early attack, helping the Tunisians, who were ranked 51st in the latest FIBA ranking, race to a 27-10 lead in the first period to keep the Filipinos winless in four matches.

Gilas Pilipinas also kissed their chance to get an outright Olympic berth goodbye following a 71-62 victory of Iran over Angola in the other classification battle.

Gilas, however, still have a chance to finish the tourney on a high note and make it to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament when they battle the Iranians in the final day of this prestigious 32-nation tournament.

Abada finished with 16 points while Dallas Mavericks slotman Salah Mejri notched 12 rebounds to overshadow the 24 points and 11 rebounds of the Philippine team’s naturalized player Andray Blatche.

From 27-10, the lead ballooned to 23, 25-13, in the 7:34 mark of the second period off a layup by Nizar Knioua.

CJ Perez and Mark Barroca, however, pulled the Filipinos to within 18 points before Mourad El Mabrouk and Mejri closed the half with the African heavyweight on top, 46-24.

p: wjg