JAKARTA – Ricardo Ratliffe commended the defense of Korea against Jordan Clarkson and the rest of their counterparts on the Philippine side.
Clarkson finished with 25 points and eight rebounds for the Philippines but was only 10 of 25 from the field. In the first half, the Cleveland Cavaliers cager had three points and shot 2 of 12 from the field.
Ratliffe said the Korean guards made Clarkson earn every shot.
“Our guards stepped up to the challenge against him,” said Ratliffe. “I know a lot (Korean fans) were very nervous because we are playing against him but I think they did a great job especially in the second half, holding him to single digits.
Clarkson somewhat atoned for his struggles in the first half, connecting on shots in the third quarter that gave the Philippines an eight-point lead. The Philippines, however, failed to sustain the gap and the Koreans leaned on their three-point shooting to post a 91-82 win.
Ratliffe expected Clarkson to regain his bearings in the second half, but was still satisfied with the defense of the team against him.
“He is an NBA player and he came out really strong in the second half,” said Ratliffe.
Ratliffe felt limiting Clarkson to three points in the first half perhaps set the tone of Korea’s defense particularly on its zone defense.
“It was super crucial. I actually don’t know how that happened. But I know he is going to come out strong. Maybe we surprised him a little bit with the zone.
“I know he is used to the NBA. It’s not a defensive three-second so once he get passed one person, he is by himself. But here, I can sit in the paint and just wait for him. I know that it will take a little adjustment for him but we did a great job especially in the second half,” Ratliffe said.