Philippines-Korea are "new and old school" basketball says Ratliffe

Paul Kennedy Lintag on Jul 16, 2020 05:13 PM
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Exposed to the basketball style of two different countries, Ricardo Ratliffe says that there's a distinct contrast between the Philippines and South Korea (Photos by FIBA and Richard Esguerra)

For someone who is neither Filipino or South Korean — by birth that is — Ricardo Ratfliffe sure has a pretty unique relationship with the two eternal Asian basketball rivals.

After more than half a decade of playing as an import for the Korean Basketball League, Ratfliffe found himself in the PBA, playing a couple of stints for the Star Hotshots in back-to-back Commissioner's Cups.

Ratliffe's PBA stints ended up being short, as he eventually got naturalized to play for the South Korean national team.

Exposed to the basketball style of two different countries, Ratliffe says that there's a distinct contrast between the Philippines and South Korea.

"I think the style of play in the Philippines is more like American style. It's more flashy and entertaining. I feel like you guys are going with the evolution," Ratliffe said on a recent appearance on 2OT with PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan.

"In Korea, I think it's more of an old school style. People don't go out of their element. The Philippines is more like new school and I think Korea is more old school," he added.

In about three years as a national team member, Ratliffe has become part of the ongoing Philippines-South Korea basketball saga.

Ratliffe has two signature moments so far, the first was in the 2018 Asian Games when his squad took down a Gilas Pilipinas team led by Jordan Clarkson.

[Related: Before 2018 Asiad meeting, Clarkson and Ratliffe actually go way back]

The second came on the final day of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Ratliffe willed Korea to win a non-bearing road game against Lebanon, with the victory becoming the help the Philippines needed to advance to the World Championships.

As if he wasn't popular enough among Filipino fans, that Korea win made Ratliffe all the more appreciated in the Philippines.

"I think I had like about a thousand DMs [on Instagram]," Ratliffe recalled.

"Right after the game I posted the Philippine flag with a heart on my story, so that everyone knew I was going out there to give it my all and I did. I thought I played decent, I didn't play my best game but I gave it my best," he added.

[Related: Gilas has nemesis Korea to thank for FIBA World Cup berth]

While he's become a legend in his own right in South Korea, Ratliffe says he won't hesitate to take his talents back to the PBA if given the chance in the future.

Ratliffe never played a full conference with the Hotshots, but his arrivals always did boost the team.

"I think it was a match made in heaven [with the Hotshots]," Ratliffe said.

"I'm appreciative of the organization, the fans, and the whole country. If I didn't get the [Korean] passport, I'm going to the Philippines every season after I'm done with Korea until I retire. That was my plan," he added.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8

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