Thanks, Kuya Cardo: Korea's Ratliffe hailed as Gilas reaches FIBA World Cup
MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas advanced to the FIBA World Cup for the second straight time and it has Ricardo Ratliffe and Korea to thank for.
Ratliffe and Korea practically saved the Philippines' World Cup bid as they staged a come-from-behind 84-72 win over Lebanon in their last game in the Asian Qualifiers on Sunday, February 24.
In order to punch its ticket to the World Cup, the Philippines needed Lebanon or Jordan or Japan to lose their final games.
It looked like all hope was lost as Lebanon, Jordan and Japan led their respective games at halftime before Ratliffe and Korea came to the rescue.
Ratliffe chalked up a game-high 25 points with 11 rebounds and 4 blocks and scored 15 in the second half as Korea erased a 40-44 halftime deficit to crush Lebanon.
The win propelled the Philippines to the last World Cup berth dedicated for Asia/Oceania, after thwarting Kazakhstan. With the back-to-back victories, Gilas improved to 7-5 in Group F and emerged the best 4th placer.
For that sorry loss to Ratliffe and Korea, Lebanon slipped to 6-6 in Group E.
Had Korea lost, the Philippines would not have qualified for the World Cup since Jordan and Japan won their matches against New Zealand and Qatar, respectively.
So when the dust settled, Ratliffe – a former PBA import for the Star Hotshots – found himself at the receiving end of love and gratitude from Filipino basketball fans.
Fans posted "Thank you, Kuya Cardo" on social media for Ratliffe, borrowing from Coco Martin's character Cardo Dalisay in the ABS-CBN hit action TV series FPJ's Ang Probinsyano.
Da best ka Kuya Cardo!— John Bryan Ulanday (@bryanulanday) February 24, 2019
Salamat Ricardo Ratliffe! Gilas Pilipinas is going to the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China!— Gilas Pilipinas (@smartgilasph) February 24, 2019
As if acknowledging what Korea's win meant to the Philippines, Ratliffe posted an Instagram story with a thumbs up emoji and the Philippine flag in it after the game.
Joining the Philippines and Korea in the World Cup, which will be staged in China from August 31 to September 15, are Australia, Iran, Japan, New Zealand, Jordan and host nation China. – Rappler.com