What is it about Korea and why can't the Philippines break through?
Paul Lintag on Aug 17, 2017 05:24 PM
South Korea remains as the Philippines' greatest rival and nemesis when it comes to international basketball. (FIBA)
The Philippines has suffered countless heartbreaking defeats at the hands of South Korea when it comes to international basketball.
Arguably the most heartbreaking of them all came in the 2002 Busan Asian Games where the Philippines lost at the buzzer following Lee Sang-min's cold-blooded triple.
The final score of that game? 69-68. Korea went on to win gold over China and a deflated Team Philippines lost the bronze to Kazakhstan.
After Gilas Pilipinas suffered a crushing 86-118 defeat at the hands of the Koreans to make an unceremonious quarterfinal exit in the 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup, ABS-CBN Sports managed to ask coach Jong Uichico what is it about South Korea and why on Earth can't the Philippines manage against that country.
Coach Jong handled the 2002 Asian Games team and despite 15 years after the fact, he's still clueless on why we keep losing to the same thing over and over and over again.
"I don't know, I have no answers," he said.
However, one thing is for sure in th eyes of Uichico. The Koreans are evolving into a more complete team.
That means they're well-equipped to beat the Philippines in more ways than one, not just relying on buzzer-beating triples to break Filipino hearts.
Although that accurate shooting from deep is still pretty much their most potent weapon, as evidenced by that 32-point beating Gilas Pilipinas had to endure Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) in Lebanon.
"They've improved a lot as the years went on," Uichico said.
"Before one dimensional, three-point shooting lang alam nila. Di naman marunong dumrive mga yan eh. Ngayon duma-drive na, tapos nagkaroon naman sila ng post game. They're improving a lot so you know, their game is evolving already. It's not anymore a curse," he added with a laugh.
"They're getting better. They're becoming versatile already."
With regards to the Philippines' latest loss, Uichico, who will handle Chooks-to-Go Gilas in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, says that there was really nothing else to do when the Koreans shot a ridiculously-high clip from the field.
South Korea went 16/21 froom deep against Gilas for a sizzling 76 percent.
Before its shooting percentage dropped off in the waning moments of the game, Gilas was also shooting in the high 50s from the field, the opposition was just simply better and more efficient.
"You're happy to shoot 56 percent right? But they shot 76 percent so what can you do in last night's game," Uichico said.
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