Gilas bows to Korea, semifinal hopes go dim

File photo of Philippine sand South Korea match in 2013 FIBA Asia Championships. Photo credits: teampilipinas.info

INCHEON—Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippine national men’s basketball team suffered another heartbreak loss Saturday afternoon at the hands of host country Korea, 97-95, in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 Asian Games.

The loss dimmed any chance for the Philippine squad to make it on the semifinals. They previously lost to Iran in another nail-biter, 63-68; and succumbed to Qatar, 68-77 on the quarterfinal opener.

File photo of Philippine sand South Korea match in 2013 FIBA Asia Championships. Photo credits: teampilipinas.info
File photo of Philippine sand South Korea match in 2013 FIBA Asia Championships. Photo credits: teampilipinas.info

Gilas guards Jimmy Alapag and LA Tenorio took charge for the Nationals who played without naturalized player Marcus Douthit.

The veteran Alapag topscored with 25 points after getting involved in a shootout from 3-point range with Korea; while Tenorio added 20 in a losing effort.

Jeff Chan also contributed with 16 markers, while June Mar Fajardo and Ranidel De Ocampo tallied 12 and 11, respectively, as Gilas Pilipinas blew their 10-point lead early in the game, and a seven-point cushion (78-71) in the fourth quarter.

They also failed to take the much-needed win despite nailing 11 three-pointers in the first twenty minutes.

Korea rallied via a 14-2 run to get back in the game and take the lead, 86-82, with a little over four minutes to play. However, Gilas responded with a scoring surge of their own to tie the game, and Tenorio’s free throw split snatched the lead back to the Philippines, 89-88, with 59 seconds left.

Then, Korea’s Yang-Hee-jong made crucial baskets to dictate the fate in their favor at the end. They were led by TJ Moon and his 38 points.

With the loss, Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes took the blame for the team’s performance.

“The entire responsibility falls on my shoulders. I want to apologize to our people,” said Reyes.

He also cited “disciplinary reason” for his benching of Douthit, and added that the there is no timeline for how long the disciplinary action would take place and it’s unsure whether Douthit will return for the Philippines last quarterfinal round assignment against Kazakhstan.

Reyes said “For tomorrow, we’ll talk again. It’s indefinite.”

Gilas will face Kazakhstan on Sunday.

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