PAIN comes in many forms.
For proof, you only need to look back at the heartaches Korea has dealt the Philippines on the basketball court — with the latest edition coming early Thursday morning when the Koreans totally dismantled Gilas Pilipinas, 118-86, in the Fiba Asia Cup quarterfinals.
The Koreans precisely dissected the Philippine defense to perfection - with their scorching efficiency from long range, precision passing on the pick and rolls and backdoor plays. The Korean offense was just humming, with basic, beautiful basketball a sight for purist fans to behold.
Unfortunately for Filipino fans, it was painful to watch. Then again, this wasn’t even close to delivering the pain from severe heartaches in the past that a Korean team has dealt a Philippine squad and its basketball-crazy nation.
There are those defeats one can still recall even after more than a decade that still stings so much. SPIN.ph digs deep into the past Philippine-Korea battles and puts this latest loss in the proper place in the spectrum of pain from many memorable Korean heartbreaks.
5. 1998 Asian Games quarterfinals
The Centennial Team, coached by Tim Cone, was arguably the most talented Philippine squad ever formed. Johnny Abarrientos running the point, Alvin Patrimonio and Marlou Aquino down low, Vergel Meneses and Kenneth Duremdes on the wings, with Allan Caidic, Jojo Lastimosa, Jun Limpot, Dennis Espino providing more firepower and Andy Seigle and EJ Feihl providing more size. It was a team designed, and well prepared to take on China. But for those who are too young to remember, the squad suffered the same fate as Gilas against Korea in the quarterfinals, with the Koreans dominating the Philippine team from start to finish with superior passing and shooting. Sounds familiar, right?
Heartbreak scale: When you thought you looked great together, only to mutually end the relationship as she was too good for you.
4. 2017 Fiba Asia Cup quarterfinals
Thursday’s loss stings more than the Centennial Team because this team took the nation to such great heights of expectations after an opening win against Asian powerhouse China. After gutsy wins over Iraq and Qatar, Gilas Pilipinas gave hope to a country starving for the elusive Fiba Asia title after two back-to-back runner-up finishes. Then the Korean curse struck back. Painful as it was, though, it pales in comparison to the others on this list.
Heartbreak scale: The kind of relationship where sparks fly from the get-go, until she realizes she deserves better and leaves, but you take the pain well knowing she was out of your league.
3. 1986 Asian Games semifinals
A an-amateur team led by future basketball legends Samboy Lim, Patrimonio, and Caidic were considered underdogs against a bigger Korean team which had homecourt advantage with the game in Seoul. The Koreans showed their might with a huge 21-point lead late, before the Philippines mounted a furious comeback bid and cut the gap to one, 103-102, in the closing seconds of the semifinal match. In the next play, the Koreans turned the ball over with Caidic leading the break and Lim running with him as current Korea coach Hur Jae was the last line of defense. Caidic drove hard and scored after a collision with Hur, only to be called for the charge and the possible game-winner nullified.
Heartbreak scale: The relationship didn’t start out strong but thrived and got to the point that you’re down on your knee, with a ring in hand, only to be rejected.
2. 2011 Fiba Asia Championship battle for third
The first generation of the Gilas Pilipinas team, under coach Rajko Toroman, got off to a strong start only to falter against Jordan in the Fiba Asia Championship semifinals and set up a clash with Korea for a slot at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The young roster led by amateur standouts JVee Casio, Mark Barroca and Chris Tiu, along with naturalized player Marcus Douthit and PBA vets Asi Taulava, Jimmy Alapag, and Kelly Williams took the fight to the Koreans early and built double-digit leads for the most part of the match. The Koreans, though, would eventually rally and take a 67-65 lead with 47 ticks left. However, Douthit, Williams and Marcio Lassiter all failed to capitalize on several chances to regain the lead at the stripe, while Casio’s last attempt to steal the game missed its mark. The looks on Williams, Douthit and Lassiter’s faces after their flubbed free throws had Filipino fans remembering the greatest Korean heartbreak in Philippine basketball history.
Heartbreak scale: She said yes to getting married, only to not show up on your wedding day.
1. 2002 Asian Games semifinals
Not a lot of people will forget the heartbreak in Busan. The Philippine team, led by Taulava, Eric Menk, Dondon Hontiveros and Olsen Racela, got demolished by a stacked Chinese squad in the quarterfinals. But the Filipino cagers were not disheartened heading to a semifinal clash against the hosts, engaging in a nip-and-tuck battle up until the final buzzer. Racela even had the chance to seal the win as he headed to the stripe with the Philippines up 68-66 and only 24 ticks left. But his usually steady hands from the free throw line uncharacteristically got cold, flubbing both attempts, before the ball found its way to Lee Sang Min off a broken play. The Korean shooter dealt the dagger straight to the heart of the Filipinos with a triple at the buzzer.
Heartbreak scale: She’s at the altar, about to say ‘I do,’ but instead says ‘I’m sorry’ then runs out the church door. OUCH.