By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Gilas Pilipinas got the better of South Korea again on Sunday through an 82-77 win in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
With the victory, Gilas, which already booked a place in the FIBA Asia Cup proper in Jakarta this August, completed a 6-0 sweep of Group A play.
Despite South Korea clicking with its well-known perimeter game, Gilas responded with crucial field goals of its own.
The big moment happened with 31 seconds left in the game when Will Navarro saved Gilas’ play despite South Korea nearly forcing the steal, finding Balti Baltazar for the slam dunk that put Gilas’ lead at four, 79-75.
Ricardo Ratliffe responded with a quick layup to cut the lead down to two, 79-77, with 25.5 seconds remaining.
However, Lee Dae-Sung was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul while trying to stop SJ Belangel from getting the inbound.
Belangel, who nailed the game-winning three-pointer for Gilas against South Korea in their first meeting on Wednesday night, somehow kept South Korea in the game this time as he only made a split from the free throw line.
In the extra possession, Dwight Ramos also went 1-for-2 from the free throw line, but he grabbed the offensive rebound off his own second charity miss, leading to another split from the stripe for the final tally.
Ramos led Gilas with 19 points, three rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
RJ Abarrientos, Kai Sotto, and Jordan Heading each added 10 markers.
Ricardo Ratliffe, playing through an undisclosed minor injury, made his first six field goals before finishing with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists.
Indonesia ends campaign on high note
Indonesia’s FIBA ACQ stint ended on a high note with an 86-69 rout of Thailand in the first game of a triple header in the final day of the Angeles bubble.
The Indonesians pulled away from the Thais for good in the second quarter after outscoring them, 28-14, to open a 49-32 halftime lead.
Indonesia sustained its dominance for most of the second half to seal the blowout.
Lester Prosper led Indonesia, which will host the FIBA Asia Cup main tournament in August, with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, 11 rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal.
Andakara Dhyaksa added 19 points, five rebounds, five assists, and one steal for Indonesia, which moved up to 2-4.
Nattakarn Muangboon put up 14 markers, two rebounds, and seven assists for Thailand, which finished its ACQ stint winless at 0-6.
Box Scores: (1st game)
Indonesia 86-Prosper 22, Dhyaksa 19, Grahita 15, Lakudu 10, Goantara 10, Sitorus 4, Kosasih 3, Wisnu 3, Saputra 0, Teja 0
Thailand 69-Muangboon 14, Jakrawan 13, Ananti 11, Suttisin 8, Chungyampin 8, Jainasuk 7, Towaroj 6, Charansarn 2, Ghogar 0, Klaewnarong 0
Quarterscores: 21-18, 49-32, 67-54, 86-69
Box Scores (2nd game)
Philippines 82-Ramos 19, Abarrientos 10, Sotto 10, Heading 10, Navarro 8, Kouame 7, Belangel 6, Baltazar 6, Go 3, Nieto 3, Chiu 0
South Korea 77-Ratliffe 20, H. Lee 13, Yang 12, D. Lee 9, Kim 8, S. Lee 8, Jeon 3, Byeon 2, Yeo 2, Ha 0
Quarterscores: 18-20, 38-34, 56-54, 82-77. (PNA)