Puerto Rico rallies, outlasts South Sudan in OT

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Puerto Rico rallies, outlasts South Sudan in OT
Stephen Thompson Jr. led Puerto Rico with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

MANILA, Philippines – Puerto Rico came from behind and pulled the rug out from under the debuting South Sudan in overtime, 101-96, in Group B of the FIBA World Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Saturday.

With the game going into extra time following a gallant effort by the Puerto Ricans, George Conditt converted on an and-one play to give them a 3-point lead, 84-81, to start overtime. 

A 3-pointer by Nuni Omot pushed Puerto Rico’s lead to six, 87-81. Isaiah Piniero split his free throws to make it 88-81. 

Following a free throw by Carlik Jones of South Sudan, a corner 3-pointer by Puerto Rico's Stephen Thompson Jr. put the final nail on the coffin, 91-82. 

South Sudan tried to come back as they cut the lead to four, 93-97, after Jones hit a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining in the game. 

But Puerto Rico's Jordan Howard sunk two free throws to put the game out of reach, 99-93. 

Jones was then fouled while shooting a 3-pointer and sunk all of his freebies to cut the deficit to 99-96. 

A pair of Isaiah Pineiro free throws set the final score.

While South Sudan controlled the bulk of the game, Puerto Rico took a one-point lead, 79-78, with 16 seconds remaining in regulation after back-to-back shots by Ismael Romero. 

South Sudan had the chance to take the lead in the succeeding possession, but Puerto Rico's stifling defense prevented them from inbounding the ball in time as they forced a five second violation. 

Puerto Rico's Tremont Waters then made both of his free throws with 14 seconds remaining as his team mounted an 81-78 lead. 

Jones of South Sudan tied the game at 81-all following a booming 3-pointer. 

Waters tried to clinch in the game-winner with one second remaining in regulation, but his shot missed.

Stephen Thompson Jr. tried to tip the ball in but missed anew. Romero, however, was able to draw a foul off an offensive rebound. 

This gave Romero a chance to win the game with two free throws with 0.3 seconds remaining, but he missed both.

Puerto Rico came back from as much as 12 points as South Sudan's Nuni Omot hit a 3-pointer in the third quarter to make it 60-48. 

Four Puerto Rico players were able to secure double-doubles. 

Thompson led Puerto Rico with 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Waters had 19 points and 10 assists. Conditt tallied 18 points and 11 boards, while Romero recorded 16 points and 12 rebounds. 

Jones starred for Puerto Rico with 38 points, 11 assists and six rebounds. Wenyen Gabriel followed suit with 17 points and seven boards.

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