Dwight Ramos once again took charge for Gilas Pilipinas, this time firing 19 points as the hosts turned back Korea for the second time in five days, 82-77, at the close of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles City Sunday.
Ramos’ big game came as the Philippines played with less turnovers than when they last met the Koreans last Wednesday.
The 6’4” Ramos knocked in two of three charities in the endgame, carrying Team Philippines to the win and the six-game sweep of the qualifiers.
The Filipinos clinched a seat to the FIBA Asian Cup tournament proper in Indonesia this August as early as Wednesday, following a pulsating 81-78 win over Korea on SJ Belangel’s miracle trey at the buzzer.
“Obviously, I’m overjoyed with the three wins from this window, two against South Korea. I give credit to this basketball team and these young players,” said coach Tab Baldwin.
NBA prospect 7’3” Kai Sotto scored 10 points apiece with RJ Abarrientos and their youngest teammate Jordan Heading.
Sotto’s three-point play and Abbarientos’ layup with 8:04 left allowed the Filipinos stay ahead, 63-60.
Heading’s driving layup and triple with 5:59 kept the Koreans at bay, 68-64.
Naturalized player Guna Ra had 20 points for Korea, with his freebie and layup giving Korea a final chance to catch up, 77-79, with 25.5 seconds left.
An unsportsmanlike foul, was however called on Daesung Lee as he tackled Belangel during an inbound play, allowing Gilas to take a three-point lead, 80-77, on the Filipino guard’s charity shot.
Baldwin noted that the Philippines played a better game this time around after the Philippines turned the ball over only seven times, compared to the 10 in their first encounter with Korea.
The Gilas mentor was also satisfied with their 27 offensive rebounds and the 19 second chance points that they scored.
The scores: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.
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