Philippines’ Gilas loses to South Korea in Asian Games

By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer

GUANGZHOU?For 19 tense minutes, Smart Gilas Pilipinas couldn?t buy a three-point shot.

South Korea exploited that cold shooting by the Smart Gilas Pilipinas five to win, 74-66, on Wednesday and book a semifinal ticket in the 16th Asian Games basketball competition at the Huangpu Gymnasium here.

JVee Casio?s four-point play gave the Filipinos a taste of the lead at 19-15, before the Nationals went through a frustrating shooting slump?including 14 triple tries in those 19 minutes? that doomed their bid for a top three finish in their country?s favorite sport.

?Most of our points came from the inside,? said Philippines? coach Rajko Toroman. ?We couldn?t make our outside shots and that was our game.

?We didn?t make it to the semifinals but we?ll still go out and fight for fifth place.?

The Koreans, who will face Japan in the semifinals, sacrificed the shaded area and concentrated on hounding the Filipino snipers.

Covered by taller and quick defenders, Marcio Lassiter, Casio and skipper Chris Tiu, who accounted for most of the team?s three-pointers in past games, just couldn?t convert from the outside with a hand on their face.

Center Asi Taulava had little opposition in the paint and unloaded 23 points, including eight in the third when the Nationals moved within 51-58.

But the Koreans held their ground and, by the time Lassiter drilled two successive threes for 66-72, the outcome was no longer in doubt.

?They made all their open shots and stopped our run,? said Tiu. ?I guess shooting decided the outcome.?

Japan hacked out a 92-75 rout of North Korea, which will be the country?s foe on Thursday in its drive to secure fifth place.

Defending champion China and Asian No. 1 Iran were gunning for the two other semifinal slots against Qatar and Jordan, respectively.

If they beat the North Koreans, the Filipinos need another victory over the winner of the two other losing semifinalists to end up fifth, matching their finish in the 1978 Asiad in Bangkok.

The Philippines also lost to South Korea in the 2002 Busan Asiad on a buzzer-beating triple that denied the Filipinos a shot at the gold against China.

The country, which missed the Doha Asiad in 2006 due to a Fiba suspension, has never finished outside of the semifinals since the 1982 Asiad in New Delhi.

The scores:

SOUTH KOREA 74 ?Oh 19, Kim 13, Lee 12, Kim 10, D. Yang 9, H. Yang 8,
Park 3, Ham 0, Lee 0, Cho 0.

PHILIPPINES 66 ? Taulava 23, Casio 12, Williams 8, Lassiter 8, Mercado 6, Tiu 5, Baracael 4, Lutz 0.

Quarters: 21-19, 44-36, 61-51, 74-66

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