Gilas struggles late as South Korea escapes victorious

Naveen Ganglani

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Gilas struggles late as South Korea escapes victorious
South Korea pulls away in the fourth quarter to hand the Philippines its first loss in the William Jones Cup

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine national basketball fell to 1-1 in the 37th William Jones Cup tournament as they were defeated by their rivals South Korea, 82-70, on Monday, August 31, at the Xinchuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City.

The game was tied entering the fourth period at 54, but a 9-0 run by the Koreans yielded from turnovers and inopportune point-blank misses by Gilas turned out to be the deciding factor of the contest.

After South Korea went on top 67-58 with 6:18 remaining, both teams exchanged baskets over the next few minutes. 

Gilas looked liked they had a shot at a rally when a free throw and 3-ball by Romeo cut Korea’s lead to 69-64 with 3 minutes to go, but a jumper by Jonghyun Lee put his team back ahead by 7 with 2:38 remaining.

Gilas managed to cut the lead to 6, 76-70, with 1:19 left after another 3-ball by Romeo and a pair of free throws from Calvin Abueva, but South Korea quickly stopped the bleeding thanks to a 3-pointer by Seunghyun Lee, which also provided the final dagger.

The Koreans improved to 1-2 with their win.

Romeo played another impressive game by finishing with 23 points and 3 3-pointers. Abueva provided 9 points off the bench, while veteran Gary David had a good bounce-back game by contributing 16 points.

Jayson Castro struggled from the field and finished with 5 points, while Ranidel De Ocampo went 2-of-10 from the floor and had 5 points.

As a team, Gilas shot 36% from the floor and from downtown but committed 34 turnovers that led to 15 South Korea points. Gilas was also outrebounded 48-38.

The Philippines will be back in action on Tuesday, September 1, when they face Russia at 1:00 pm (Manila time). –

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