Now a naturalized South Korean, Ratliffe still relishes stints in PH
MANILA, Philippines — Ricardo Ratliffe, who now goes by the name of Ga Runa after his naturalization in South Korea, may have played nearly the entirety of his professional career in Korea but his brief spell in the Philippines remains an experience that still has him raving about up to this time.
Despite not winning any championship, Ratliffe still relished his stints with the Star Hotshots in the 2016 and 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“I played there only probably a total of seven months and I played in Korea for like this is my ninth year,” said Ratliffe in an interview with Fiba. “They love me and I love them too. If I wasn’t here, I’d be playing the Philippines right now.”
“I really enjoyed it and the fans out there are the best I’ve ever seen, especially outside the United States. It’s the best I’ve ever seen. I feel like I have probably had more fans in the Philippines than I have here.”
The 31-year-old Ratliffe has been playing in the Korean Basketball League since 2012, suiting up for Mobis Phoebus before becoming a naturalized South Korean in 2018.
He was first brought in by the Hotshots in 2016 to replace Denzel Bowles, who had to return to the US after the death of a relative.
As the Hotshots’ import, Ratliffe was given the freedom to play his game and stick to his strengths which allowed him to showcase his full arsenal.
“I love the Philippines. It is fun to play basketball than when I play here in Korea. In Korea, it’s really, really, really structured and you have to play a certain way,” said the bull-strong forward..
“In the Philippines its free. They just give you the ball and let you do what you do.”
The PBA is not the only connection Ratliffe has as far as Philippine basketball is concerned.
The 6-foot-8 Ratliffe is also familiar with fellow University of Missouri alum and Fil-American NBA guard Jordan Clarkson.
“I mean we didn’t play together back then, but when he came on his visit [to Missouri], I was the host,” said Ratliffe. “So I like to think I was one of the reasons that he decided to choose Mizzou of all the other choices that he had.”
Although they didn’t play together, Ratliffe and Clarkson got the chance to go up against each other during the 2018 Asian Games when Clarkson played for the Philippines under head coach Yung Guiao.
“He’s a really cool dude. We played him (Clarkson) in the Asian Games and I ran into him a few times at the cafeteria and chopped it up a little bit. Talked a little bit.”
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