INCHEON, South Korea — Jimmy Alapag once again carried the fight for Gilas but, again, it was not enough as the celebrated Philippine national team suffered another heartbreaking loss to Korea, 97-95, on Saturday and all but kissed its Asian Games gold medal chances goodbye.
Moon Taejong had a game-high 38 points while Yang Heejong hit a huge triple with 31.9 seconds left to give the Koreans a 93-89 lead to complete the home team’s comeback from 16 points down at the packed Samsan World Gymnasium.
Alapag scored 25 points for Gilas Pilipinas, which fell to its third straight loss in the tournament and got all but eliminated from the semifinal round.
Gilas will wrap up the quarterfinal round against Kazakhstan on Sunday at the Hwaseong Sports Complex, needing a win by more than 10 points and a loss by Qatar to Korea to figure in a three-way tie for the second berth in the crossover semifinals in Group H.
All ties will be decided via the quotient system.
Gilas Pilipinas appeared to have total control of the game with their three-point baskets, finishing the game with a 16-of-30 clip from beyond-the-arc. The Philippines led 68-52 in the third quarter but fizzled to fall to its second straight loss in the quarterfinals—third overall in the tournament.
Head coach Chot Reyes said he remains proud of the GIlas team despite the defeat.
“I’m very proud of my boys. They fought hard. It was a difficult challenge to beat Korea on their own court. But we fought up to the very end. Unfortunately, we came up short,” said Reyes.
Korea made a 19-4 finish to the fourth period to cut the lead to 72-71.
Naturalized citizen Marcus Douthit, accused by coach Chot Reyes of quitting on Gilas during the march against Qatar, did not see action and the Philippines had to rely on June Mar Fajardo to man the paint.
Fajardo led a 6-0 run to start the fourth with a 78-71 edge but once again, the lead fizzled as Korea scored 10 unanswered points for an 86-82 advantage.
Gilas last held the lead at 89-88 as Yang Heejong four points including a triple that broke the hearts of the Pinoys who watched the game in the venue and on television.
LA Tenorio had 20 points, Jeff Chan 16, while Junemar Fajardo added 12 points and 10 rebounds with the absence of Douthit, who didn’t play in the game due to a disciplinary action by Reyes.
Korea (97) – Moon 38, Cho 17, Kim Taesul 16, Yang 10, Oh 10, Kim Jongkyu 6, Park 0, Yang D. 0, Lee Jonghyun 0, Kim Joosung 0.
Philippines (95)—Alapag 25, Tenorio 20, Chan 16, Fajardo 12, De Ocampo 11, Norwood 5, Pingris 4, Aguilar 2, Dillinger 0, David 0, Lee 0.
Quarterscores: 18-22; 44-51; 71-72; 97-95.