Late Ravena, Kouame heroics seal Gilas OT win over Tunisia

JR Isaga

CRUCIAL. Thirdy Ravena comes up clutch for Gilas Pilipinas.


Gilas Pilipinas notches its third straight win to clinch a quarterfinal berth in the King Abdullah Cup in Jordan

Thirdy Ravena finally had his time to shine in the King Abdullah Cup in Jordan as his late free throw helped Gilas Pilipinas escape Tunisia in a 74-73 overtime thriller on Thursday, July 29 (Friday, July 30, Manila time).

After Ravena split his two charities with nine seconds left, his former Ateneo co-star Ange Kouame then put the finishing touches with a game-winning block on Achref Gannouni with just three seconds remaining.

Kouame finished with an all-around line of 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks, all team-highs, while Ravena chipped in 7 markers, 3 boards, and 2 dimes.

Dwight Ramos likewise continued his all-around play and finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 swats, and a steal as Isaac Go sparked the bench with 8 points, and a game-best +18 differential.

The game was a back-and-forth war from start to finish, with Tunisia moving ahead into the fourth quarter up by 4 points, 53-49, after a last-minute 7-0 run.

The Tunisians even peaked with an eight-point lead at the 6:30 mark of the payoff period, 59-51, before Gilas responded with a key 9-2 attack capped by a Kouame layup at the two-minute mark to inch within one point, 60-61.

Gannouni pushed the Tunisia lead up to three, 66-63, off a layup with less than a minute left in regulation, but Rey Suerte drilled a clutch tying trey off an SJ Belangel handoff with 37 ticks left to ultimately force overtime, 66-all.

Late Tunisia free throws and an Ahmed Addami layup eventually kept the score knotted up at 73-all in the extra period before Gannouni committed a costly foul that sent Ravena to the line for the winning split.

Oussama Marnaoui led all scorers with 19 points, while Gannouni powered the bench with 16 markers, albeit on a 6-of-15 clip.

After Saudi Arabia’s loss to Egypt earlier in the day that eliminated them from contention, the other four teams in the five-country, week-long tournament have officially clinched a quarterfinal berth.

Gilas and host country Jordan will wrap up the elimination round at midnight on Saturday, July 31, Manila time, and formalize the quarterfinal seeds.

The Scores

Philippines 74 – Kouame 12, Ramos 11, Belangel 10, Go 8, Ravena 7, Ma. Nieto 7, Baltazar 5, Tamayo 5, Suerte 5, Heading 3, Navarro 1, Ildefonso 0, Chiu 0.

Tunisia 73 – Marnaoui 19, Gannouni 16, Ochi 10, Jawadi 9, Lahiani 6, Chihi 5, Bouallegue 4, Yahia 2, Addami 2.

Quarters: 15-14, 36-31, 49-53, 66-66, 74-73.