Looking back: How Korea has broken our hearts before

Levi Verora
We look back at how Korea has broken the Filipinos' hearts through basketball before.

HEARTBREAKER. Korea has broken the hearts of Filipinos time and again. Photo by AFP/Kim Jae-Hwan.

MANILA, Philippines – Will the spell end tonight?

Gilas Pilipinas is 40 minutes away from barging into the 2014 World Cup in Spain for the first time in 35 years but standing in their way is a long-time nemesis who has never failed to break their hearts: Korea.

The East Asia champs dispatched Qatar on Friday night to arrange a semifinals date with the Gilas crew in a much-anticipated duel for one of two championship berths.

Their history with the home squad dates back to the previous decades, with the Philippines regularly being on the wrong end of things.

The fabled rivalry continues tonight, adding more spice to the grind for Spain.

How many times have we suffered disheartening setbacks? Below are the recent meetings we’ve had with our bitter rivals in Asian basketball.

2002 Busan Asian Games: Korea 69, PHL 68

With under a minute left, the Philippines clinged to a two-point lead as Korea failed to convert on separate possessions. They had to foul Olsen Racela with less than 30 seconds left.

Racela — one of the Philippines’ most dreaded shooters during that time — missed two crucial free throws, enabling Korea to set up one final time.

And after a series of fakes by Lee Sang-Min, he drained the game-winning triple, leaving coach Jong Uichico’s troops shocked.

Korea went on to win the title after beating China in the title match.

2007 Jones Cup: PHL 88, Korea 84

With a little help from 4 energy drink bottles, the hulking Asi Taulava mightily held 7-foot-4 Ha Seung-Jin to a nightmarish performance underneath, overpowering the tall yet ineffective slotman.

Mark Caguioa and Dondon Hontiveros led the charge with 19 and 14 markers, respectively while Gabe Norwood capped the game with a fastbreak jam as Magnolia-Pilipinas upended the Koreans.

2009 Jones Cup: Korea 83, Powerade Team Pilipinas 80

It was a tough stint for Powerade Team Pilipinas in 2009, finishing with a 2-6 record.

Against Korea, they pulled to within 76-78 on baskets by Ranidel De Ocampo and Sonny Thoss. However, Oh Se-Keun drained the go-ahead triple to provide cushion, 81-76 and from there, the Koreans never looked back as it dealt the Philippines another loss.

2009 FIBA Asia Championship: Korea 69, Powerade Team Pilipinas 56; Korea 82, Powerade Team Pilipinas 80

Korea overpowered the Philippines in the preliminary rounds with only Cyrus Baguio’s 14 points giving them the spark.

But in the match for 7th place, Powerade gave the Koreans a tough night. The Nationals actually led, 26-19, after 10 minutes before Korea fought back and sent the Philippines packing. 

From an 80-all deadlock, Arwind Santos, Jared Dillinger, and James Yap all had their chances to win the game for us, but Yang Donggeun ended up with the break-away lay-up to seal the win.

Oh Sekeun led Korea with 31 points. Another heartbreak.

2010 Guangzhou Asian Games: Korea 74, Smart Gilas 66

The PHL 5 bowed down to a tougher Korean squad sans Marcus Douthit who is yet to complete his naturalization process during that time.

Led by the evergreen Asi Taulava, who had 23 points, Smart Gilas refused to roll over, battling hard and even taking the lead in the first period.

But the Koreans were just too sharp as they limited the Philippines in the final 3 quarters of the match, while hitting basket after basket.

2011 Jones Cup: Korea 78, Smart Gilas 70

Smart-Gilas engaged in a shoot-out that enabled them to rally back from a dozen-point deficit in the first half. With 1-2 punch JVee Casio and Marcus Douthit, the nationals were able to tie the game at 63-all.

But that proved to be their last stand as the East Asians stormed to a 10-0 blast to seal the win.

2011 FIBA Asia Championship Korea 70, Smart Gilas 68

Smart Gilas needed to win the bronze to at least qualify for the Olympics wildcard round, aside from salvaging some pride.

Insipired by their bitter defeat against Jordan in the semis, Smart Gilas went on to a roll, leading by as much as 11 on a Kelly Williams alley-oop slam.

But the gritty Koreans — who always wanted to spoil the party — went on to fight back.

Naturalized wingman Moon Tae-Jong hit the clutch trey in the final minutes of the ball game to shove Korea ahead, 67-65. Cho Sung-Min added two charities to make it a 69-66 ballgame. In the ensuing plays, Douthit and Lassiter had splits from the foul line.

JVee Casio rushed to the frontcourt in the final 6 seconds of play, firing a desperation heave that never hit the mark as he crumbled into tears.

Korea officially ended our hopes of making it to London.

Now at home

The Koreans had their time but tonight is different.

Gilas Pilipinas is playing at home, backed by their 20,000-strong sixth man.

They are coming off a monumental 88-58 destruction of Kazakhstan in the knockout quarterfinals.

They are hungry more than ever.

By the opening bell, they will showcase what PUSO really means.

And by then, they will realize that this is the perfect time to end the spell — serve the win perfectly at home — and bring themselves one step closer to regaining Asian supremacy. – Rappler.com

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