Guiao on PH-Korea showdown: ‘Things are even this time’
MANILA, Philippines – History will be against the Philippine men's basketball team in its looming quarterfinal clash against Korea in the 2018 Asian Games.
For the past two decades, the Koreans have brought heartache to Filipinos – most notably in the 1998 and 2002 editions of the Asiad where they booted the Nationals out of gold-medal contention.
But even if the odds are against the Philippines, head coach Yeng Guiao's confidence has climbed rungs up heading into the knockout quarterfinal on Monday, August 27 at 11 am (Philippine time).
"This time, I have a good feeling that with Jordan Clarkson and of course the way the players are playing, the way they are developing and the way we are getting that cohesion, I think things are even this time going to the game against Korea," Guiao said.
The Filipinos proved they can match with Asia's elites after nearly pulling off an upset against China, which is bolstered by NBA players Zhou Qi and Ding Yanyuhang, in their 80-82 loss in Group D.
Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers lived up to the billing by torching the Chinese with a game-high 28 points on top of 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals before cramping up in the endgame.
He also received much-needed help from teammates Christian Standhardinger, who chalked up 18 points and 8 rebounds, Stanley Pringle, who had 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks, and Paul Lee, who added 10 points.
It was a gallant stand against the tournament favorites, but it will be a different story against the defending Asian Games champion Korea, which swept Group D by a whopping average of 38 points.
Korea stamped it class over Thailand, Indonesia and Magnolia behind naturalized player Ricardo Ratliffe, who normed a cool 23.3 points and 13 rebounds.
Aside from Ratliffe, who played as import for Magnolia in the PBA last season, the Filipinos will have another problem to solve – Korea's deadly outside sniping.
Still, Guiao is ready for the make-or-break challenge that would propel the Philippines into a semifinal showdown against either Iran or Syria.
"In our game against China, we were not as efficient," said Guiao. "It was actually Jordan's first game after the NBA Finals with the Cavs. So we're expecting a little bit more efficiency with the Korea game."
"The players are really motivated. As I have mentioned, we will prepare as hard as we can, and we'll play as hard as we can just like we did in our game against China." – Rappler.com