Not a fluke.
Gilas Pilipinas proved that its recent win over Korea is not just a stroke of luck after authoring a repeat 82-77 victory to close out the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga, on Sunday, June 20.
Dwight Ramos churned out 19 points on top of 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals to lead four Filipinos in double figures as they wrapped up the qualifiers undefeated with a 6-0 record in Group A.
The Philippines did not need a buzzer-beater to escape Korea this time around after building an enough cushion in the endgame, with Ramos sinking the win-sealing free throws.
“I’m obviously overjoyed, to take three wins in this window,” said Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin.
Korea remained in striking distance with 25 seconds left, 77-80, before Ramos gave the Philippines a four-point lead with a free throw.
While Ramos missed the second of his two foul shots, he hauled down the offensive board and sank another free throw with five ticks remaining for the final tally.
Kai Sotto delivered 10 points and 7 rebounds for Gilas Pilipinas, RJ Abarrientos chimed in 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists, while Jordan Heading added another 10 points.
William Navarro put up 8 points and 4 rebounds, naturalized player Angelo Kouame had 7 points and 8 rebounds, while Justine Baltazar made his presence felt in the win with 6 points and 6 rebounds.
Baltazar also played hero down the stretch by turning a broken play into a wide-open dunk that put the Philippines up 79-75 with 30 seconds left.
The Philippines beat Korea at its own game as it shot 14-of-37 (38%) from long range, while the visitors finished 10-of-35 with their triples (29%).
Ra Gun-ah (formerly Ricardo Ratliffe) netted 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with 13 rebounds for Korea, which concluded the qualifiers with a 4-2 card in Group A, its only losses coming against the Philippines.
Philippines 82 – Ramos 19, Sotto 10, Heading 10, Abarrientos 10, Navarro 8, Kouame 7, Baltazar 6, Belangel 6, Nieto 3, Go 3, Chiu 0.
Korea 77 – Ra 20, Lee HJ 13, Yang 12, Lee DS 9, Lee SH 8, Kim 8, Jeon 3, Byeon 2, Yeo 2, Ha 0.
Quarters: 18-20, 38-34, 56-54, 82-77.