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    Irony not lost as arch-rival Korea aids Gilas entry to World Cup

    Feb 25, 2019
    PHOTO: fiba.com

    TEAM Pilipinas got a huge lift from Korea in booking a seat in the Fiba Basketball World Cup.

    Korea overcame a slow start to beat home side Lebanon, 84-72, in a game Lebanon needed to win to book a spot in the World Cup of basketball.

    Minutes later, Team Pilipinas did its job as it punched a ticket to the World Cup after beating Kazakhstan, 93-75, in Astana.

    It took a win by the Philippines’ biggest rival in Asian basketball to move Gilas into the 2019 World Cup.

    The Philippines had a long history of heartbreaks at the hands of Korea, including that infamous 2002 semifinal match in the Asian Games where Lee Sang Min hit a buzzer-beater.

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      Incidentally, a former PBA import in Ricardo Ratliffe also helped Korea take the win in practically a no-bearing match for the team having already booked a spot in the World Cup.

      Ratliffe, a former import of the Purefoods franchise, had 25 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks and helped Korea outscore Lebanon in the fourth quarter, 22-8.

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      Korea also won after trailing by as many as 13 points over Lebanon, which missed the ticket to the World Cup after Jordan beat New Zealand in the other game.

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      Kim Jongkyu had 14 points, while Lim Dongseop had 12 points for Korea, which finished the qualifiers with a 10-2 record.

      Lebanon dropped to 6-6.

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      PHOTO: fiba.com
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