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Gilas PH trips Korea, seals World Cup stint

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IMMEASURABLE JOY Japeth Aguilar hugs Ranidel De Ocampo while Gary David and Larry Fonacier clinch their fists after Gilas Pilipinas’ victory over South Korea last night at Mall of Asia Arena. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

PHILIPPINE basketball can again carry a long-lost, almost forgotten tag: world-class.

In the fight of their lives against a foe that had dealt them so many painful defeats in the past, the Gilas Pilipinas national five overcame South Korea and terrible odds last night to get back into the world championship stage for the first time in 35 years.

With an 86-79 Final Four victory in the 27th Fiba Asia Championship, carved out with naturalized center Marcus Douthit riding the bench because of an injury with still 25 minutes left, Gilas sealed a title clash with Iran today and a stint in the Fiba World Cup in Spain next year.

The Iranians earlier outclassed Chinese Taipei, 79-60, to secure the first title berth (See story on Page  A20).

The undersized Filipinos made excellent use of the three-point shot, drove to the basket with reckless abandon and defended like there was no tomorrow in a late spurt that sealed the victory and ignited pandemonium at the packed Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Gilas blew a nine-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter and looked headed for another meltdown in the stretch when it trailed, 73-75, heading into the final 3:41.

But Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel De Ocampo and Marc Pingris, the senior members of the squad, presided over a swashbuckling Gilas finish for the famous win.

And when it was all over and with the capacity crowd erupting into a deafening crescendo, coach Chot Reyes cried unabashedly on the bench with his players doing the same on the floor.

All the bitter defeats in the past since 1986—counting one in 2002 when a late three-pointer in the Busan Asian Games denied the Filipinos of at least a silver medal—will now be forgotten for the moment after Gilas gave Korea a dose of its own medicine.

The Philippines stared at defeat as early as the second quarter when Douthit landed hard after a short stab against two defenders, wincing in pain with still five minutes left and the score 28-26 in favor of the Koreans.

But instead of rolling over and giving up, the Filipinos dug deep and kept the deficit to just three at halftime.

The Filipinos played the zone and were in their skates at the start of the third period where Jason Castro scored six straight points and Pingris had a tip-in. Castro drained a trey to cap an 11-0 salvo that made it 47-39.

The Koreans missed their first six shots in the third period and were befuddled when their outside guns were jammed by the zone.

“To all who have supported us, who prayed for us, you are the ones who give us strength,” a tearful Pingris told a packed press room in Filipino. “It was all about heart for us. We are willing to die for our cause.”

Team Philippines was still on top by five, 73-68, heading into the final 4:53 when Kim Ming-goo completed a rare four-point play before the Mohawk-haired Lee Seung-jun had a breakaway dunk and a free throw that gave the Koreans that two-point lead.

Alapag, as if on cue, took the game into his hands, rifling in a triple before Kim Tae-sook put the Koreans on the lead for the last time with a layup with 2:38 left.

De Ocampo, who also cried during the interview, then hit a high-looping layup and then a triple that made it 81-77.

The scores:

GILAS PILIPINAS 86—Castro 17, Pingris 16, Alapag 14, De Ocampo 11, Tenorio 9, Aguilar 8, Chan 5, Norwood 2, Douthit 2, Fonacier 2.

SOUTH KOREA 79— Kim M. 27, Yang 11, Kim J. 11, Lee S. 10, Lee J. 10, Cho 6, Kim S. 2, Kim T. 2, Yoon 0.

Quarters: 125-19, 36-39, 65-56, 86-79.


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  • Gloria_Wheelchairroyo

    Win or Lose, Big Boys don’t Cry!

  • doki budoki

    kudos to mr MVP for his support of the national basketball team in the last 5 years or so. among the wealthiest filipinos, he is one of a kind!

  • QritiQ

    Suddenly everybody jumps to join the bandwagon. This is a huge slap to the face of the doubters! Always keep the faith! Puso!

  • sanjuan683

    Nasaan yun nagsasabi ang basketball ay para lang sa MALALAKING PLAYERS? Nasa tactics yan malaki man ang players hindi naman makapag-dribble ng bola dahil maaagawan. hehehehehe dun lang bagay ang malalaki players sa under the ring. Pero kung ang players puro deadly sa three points shooting at mostly magaling sa outside shooting at duon na-train sa outside shooting ng husto wala yan matataas na players. Ikaw nga lahat ng bagay ay may gamit mataas ka puede mo pitasin ang mangga sa puno na hindi abot ng maliit na tao. Pero hindi puede magtago sa maliit ng tunnel ang isang mataas na tao na para lang sa maliit na tao. Sabi nga ni Pacman gustong ko kalaban yun malaki dahil madaling patamaan. Ang galing ng GILAS ngayon lang ako nakakita ng team na ganyan kagaling sa lahat ng diskarte at maganda ang team work at ang laki ng PUSO sa pakikipag-compete para sa Pilipinas. Mabuhay kayo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • M C

    Sana, andun si Senyor Simyon mamya sa ringside para mas malaking morale booster sa ating mga manlalaro. Naging masigla nuon ang ating koponan nun nanood mismo si Pangulong Marcos sa championship game.

  • RedvD

    Good game. Congrats Gilas! The Koreans were tough especially that Kim Ming goo, he can really shoot. Hope we can develop more players like him to boost our chances even more in international competition

  • reydomingo

    PUSO!! Thank you Gilas.. You make our country proud… One more please…

  • Manuel Sapelino

    MVP for PRESIDENT of the REPUBLIC of THE PHILIPPINES 2016

    • Scrapper Keeper

      Dahil sa basketball? Babaw mo ha.

      • jimmyalapag

        MVP is not only involved in basketball. He’s everywhere here in the Philippines so why not consider him to be the land’s CEO?

      • epoxxy

        Bakit? sa basketball lang ba nakikita si MVP? ano sa palagay mo kay Bong Revilla at Pacman kontra ka MVP?

    • ThudOthwacker

      Yes! so his Chinese Indonesian master will be the king. After his term, everything will be own by his master including your underpants.

    • QritiQ

      I commend MVP for whole-heartedly supporting Philippine basketball but NOT for President! I know his un-Filipino style of running a business. Simply heartless in contrary to Gilas’ PUSO! 100% of the credit should go to Coach Chot and the cagers. Money will flow from any willing and self-serving businessman and/or politician anytime but without the heart and passion of the coach and players, everything will just be a failure.

    • Elias Ibarra Jr

      He will be lost like Manny Villar in the making spend 400 milyon for campaign but still he lost. Yun MVP mo kahit hubusin nya yun billones nya at si Paquiao ay di pa rin sila mananalo. Destiny kailangan nila????



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