40 minutes to eternity: How Gilas stopped Korea
MANILA, Philippines -- Thousands personally witnessed how Gilas Pilipinas barged into the 2014 World Cup in Spain and ended their decades-long spell against the Koreans.
Meanwhile, millions and millions -- wherever they are on this nation of 7,107 islands and overseas -- jumped, cheered, cried, and celebrated from the opening bell until the final buzzer.
And I was fortunate enough to be inside the Mall of Asia Arena, along with almost 18, 000 patrons.
For 40 (basketball) minutes we were all subjected to the time of our lives. The whole nation held its breath for quite a while. So how did history happen? Rappler.com brings you back to the riveting Gilas Pilipinas-Korea tussle once more.
Thousands have gathered outside the Mall of Asia Arena, hoping each one of them could get in the venue. Unfortunately, the Mall of Asia Arena can only hold so much.
Gilas Pilipinas formally enters the stadium for the warm-up. Prior to this, balloons and shirts were given away to the fans inside.
Gilas 3-0 Korea
Korea won the opening tip but it was Jeff Chan who opened the game with a triple from way beyond the arc to ignite the crowd! High hopes started to spring from each Filipino, whether standing on the lower box section, sitting comfortable in front of their TV sets or following the game through the Rappler LIVE BLOG.
Gilas 7-7 Korea
Kim Joo-Sung and Cho Sung-Min went on to work. Kim scored two baskets from point-blank range while Cho hit his first trey.
Gilas 13-17 Korea
Known for their outside shooting, Korea started to light it up from the outside. Kim Min-Goo started hitting his shots while Kim Joo-Sung continued his early paint dominance. Korea took the upperhand and the crowd began to become restless.
END of the 1ST: Gilas 15, Korea 19
Gilas 19-19 Korea
Jayson Castro flashed his lightning-quick play at the start of the second period as Gilas Pilipinas tied it at 19. The crowd started to erupt again and cheered heavily, shouting "DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE!"
Gilas 21-28 Korea
However, with Gilas' poor perimeter defense, Korea started to kill us with their outside game. Eric Sandrin and Lee Jong-Yun conspired as Korea silenced the stadium on a 9-2 blast.
Gilas 26-28 Korea
Jimmy Alapag rifled in his first triple of the match that ressurected the crowd. Gilas pulled to within two; but a bad break took its toll on the Gilas crew: Marcus Douthit got kneed on the exact spot he hurt against Qatar. He limped in pain and struggled to get on his feet.
Instead of getting crippled, the audience gave what's due for Gilas Pilipinas when they needed it the most: their undying support.
Chants of "PU-SO! PU-SO!" circled through the venue as the Gilas faithful egged on the national squad.
Gilas 26-33 Korea
Douthit's absence was quickly felt as Yang Donggeun put up 5 straight markers; Korea extended its lead anew to 7. Our frontcourt continued shrinking as Japeth Aguilar was called for foul #3. At this point, the same old feeling of heartbreak re-surfaced.
Gilas 36-37 Korea
With this development, Marc Pingris started to do the dirty work underneath, hustling on loose balls and plucking down the boards. He made his presence felt inside as Gilas cut the deficit to one.
HALFTIME: Gilas 36, Korea 39
Gilas 44-39 Korea
Castro once again left his defenders biting the dust for a 6-0 blitzkrieg of his own, scoring via a series of breakdown moves. Gilas took the driver's seat early on, and the crowd goes wild! Pingris does a follow-up to push Gilas ahead by 5.
Gilas 52-44 Korea
Gilas continued its onslaught as Castro, LA Tenorio, and Ranidel De Ocampo knocked down huge baskets to give the Nationals some cushion, 52-44. Korea started to feel the crowd's intensity as they felt the pressure from the huge audience.
Gilas 58-51 Korea
De Ocampo and Tenorio outsmarted the Korean frontline with nifty moves under the basket. Pingris, meanwhile, shut down Korea's inside play with tremendous hustle!
End of the 3RD: Gilas 65, Korea 56
Alapag, the smallest man on the Gilas roster, exemplified #Puso, scoring five straight on a put-back and a booming trey! He electrifies the crowd and it seemed Gilas was on their way to Spain. Aguilar capped the quarter with a thunderous slam off a beautiful assist from The Blur.
Gilas 67-64 Korea
Korea--the team who always wanted to spoil the party--showcased solid composure. Kim Min-Goo waxed hot for back-to-back threes as Korea answered every attack we had.
Gilas 71-66 Korea
Faced by a familiar situation, Alapag kept egging the crowd for their support all the way. With Gilas threatened, coach Chot Reyes called a timeout to settle things.
Gilas 73-75 Korea
Eric Sandrin got away with a fastbreak jam. Kim Min-Goo had a decisive 4-point play as Korea stole the lead. Gilas was threatened again. Questions loomed whether they had enough gas on their tank to get the job done. It was crunch time already and fans hoped that they won't let another meltdown happen.
Gilas 76-75 Korea
Pingris' hook shot was denied by Sandrin. The refs called for goal-tend but they took it back, enabling Alapag to make a three! Gilas steals the lead!
Gilas 76-77 Korea
Kim Tae-Sool answers right back as Korea kept its chances alive.
Gilas 78-77 Korea
De Ocampo races to the hoop; he flips it up and it falls down!
Gilas 81-77 Korea
De Ocampo held the ball on the right wing; knowing he was against the shot-clock. He then uncorked a triple which found the bottom of the net! Gilas by 4!
Gilas 81-79 Korea
Yang Donggeun was fouled with under two minutes to go. He calmly sinks both to cut it down to two.
Gilas 84-79 Korea
Alapag, in his last tour of duty, escaped his defender for what could be the biggest three of his life! He shoves Gilas ahead by 5 and the crowd goes wild! They're unstoppable!
Gilas 86-79 Korea
Korea tried to go to their shooters but Gabe Norwood skied high to deny it! De Ocampo completes the play with a huge steal. Back in front, Castro raced to the hole and missed it, but Pingris was right there to clean it up! Korea faltered in their last-ditch effort, allowing Gilas Pilipinas to end the curse!
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Gilas Pilipinas wins, 86-79!
The players immediately celebrated on centercourt, waving to their legions of supporters while shedding tears of joy. Coach Chot Reyes himself was on the bench and cried heavily as his boys completed the emotional turnaround!
At the press conference, De Ocampo and Pingris sobbed and were virtually speechless as they relayed their sacrifices for the country.
Chot Reyes himself couldn't believe how they accomplished their goal. It was just the pride that kept them going.
"They have to take us out of the court," he said.
The night ended in high spirits as Gilas Pilipinas marched on to Spain. All that in 40 (basketball) minutes. - Rappler.com