INCHEON, South Korea — Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes apologized for letting the Filipinos down after a loss to Korea on Saturday practically ended their chances of making it to the semifinal round of the Asian Games basketball competitions.
The Philippines squandered a 16-point lead to drop a 97-95 decision over Korea at the Samsan World Gymnasium in the heart of the city - its third defeat in a row in what has been a chaotic showing here that led to the benching of Marcus Douthit in the game.
“I want to apologize to the Filipino people. There were a lot of expectations in this competition. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to live up to it,” Reyes said during the postgame press conference.
“But that’s sports. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” said Reyes.
Gilas Pilipinas sizzled from afar by converting 16 three-point shots to take as much as a 68-52 lead. But Gilas' guns turned cold and Korea began hitting its own treys late, the last one made by Yang Heejong that made it a 93-89 lead with 31 seconds to play.
“We got a 16-point lead with our three-point shooting. That’s the danger of relying on the three-point shot. You live and die with it. Couple of our shots, we missed. They were able to get the rebound, made a couple of their shots. That’s basketball,” said Reyes.
Reyes, however, said he was proud with the effort of his players against a tough home side which has now clinched a spot in the semifinals with a 2-0 record.
“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.