MANILA, Philippines — The curse has been broken.
Gilas Pilipinas put on a gallant stand to beat long-time tormentor Korea, 86-79, and enter the finals of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship on Saturday, August 10 before a humongous crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Playing most of the game without the injured Marcus Douthit, the Philippine team showed heart and resilience to deny the Koreans and book a ticket to the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Jayson Castro sped his way through the defense and scored 17 points on 62% shooting while Marc Pingris bucked a hamstring injury and provided 16 points, 10 rebounds and the energy and hustle that boosted the home squad.
Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo also delivered leadership and daggers to combine for 25 points and 9 boards as Gilas recovered from a poor start to shoot 50% from the field.
They will also face unbeaten Iran in the winner-take-all championship game on Sunday, August 11 at the same venue.
Meanwhile, Korea falls to a battle for bronze — and the last berth to Spain — against Chinese Taipei.
The Philippines (86) – Castro 17, Pingris 16, Alapag 14, De Ocampo 11, Tenorio 9, Aguilar 8, Chan 5, Foancier 2, Norwood 2, Douthit 2, David 0, Fajardo 0.
Korea (79) – Kim M. 27, Yang 11, Kim JS. 11, Lee S. 10, Lee J. 10, Cho 6, Kim S. 2, Kim T. 2.
Quarters: 15-19, 36-39, 65-56, 86-79. – Rappler.com