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PH falls short reaching the medal podium anew


PhilBoxing.com


The curse persists.

The road to the podium ended anew for the Philippines in the 18th Asiad when its long-time all familiar rival South Korea won a hard-earned, come-from-behind 91-82 victory in their knockout quarter-final round encounter at the Gelora Bong Karno hoophouse in Jakarta.

A murderous 27-17 fourth quarter flurry highlighted by five triples completed the Koreans? catch up efforts from as big an eight-point deficit in the third quarter.

The Filipinos, who looked to finally slaying the ghost that started 52 years ago during the 1966 edition of the quadrennial conclave, had a slim 65-64 edge going into the payoff period but stumbled on the dreaded long-tom shooting of the enemies and the inside incursions of the newly naturalized and former PBA import Ricardo Ratliffe.

That 1966 fifth staging of the Games saw the Philippines losing the championship no team after that ever recaptured.

For at least 36 minutes, coach Yeng Guiao?s rag-tag squad raised hope that the curse was headed to its end as Fiipino-American NBA star Jordan Clarkson, after going 2-for-12 from the floor in the first half, gained his rhythm in the third period to lead the Filipinos to a 50-42 lead.

The Filipinos still led, 68-67, early in the final quarter until Heo Ilyung, Jeon Junbeom, Kim Sunhyung rained threes on the PH defense while Ratliffe and his fellow big men dominated the boards to break the game open, 83-72.

Ratliffe finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds while the three Korean hotshots combined for nine three-pointers. The former PBA import also helped Korea dominate the board, 45-40, thanks to 18 offensive rebounds.

Kim ended up with 17 points and 10 assists while going 2-of-6 from three-point land. Heo added 17points (4-for 9 from beyond the arc) and Jeo nine points - all on threes - as the unbeaten Koreans advanced into the semifinals, likely against Iran.

Clarkson finished with 25 points and eight rebounds but went just 10-of-25 from the field for the Philippines as he fell from the defense thrown his way by Koreean mentor Hur Jae, hero of the Korean's campaign in the 80s.

Fil-German Christian Standhardinger added 16 points and nine boards.

The Filipinos, meanwhile, dropped into the consolation round where they were relegated to the battle for as high as fifth, two ranks better than their predecessors seventh place windup four years ago in Incheon, South Korea, or as low as eighth.

The Philippines had, actually, won the Asian crown four straight from the time the Asiad began in 1951 to 1962 when the ghost of its long futile rivalry against the Koreans started, too, a close 82-83 loss the Koreans helped in the Filipinos? downfall.

The Filipinos won two of their three games against their arch enemies in 1973 and 1974. Before going winless in all their meetings with the Koreans in 1978 in Bangkok, 1982 in New Delhi, 1986 in Seoul and 1998, again in Bangkok.

The Filipinos ended their medal-less campaign when the Robert Jaworski coached theam salvaged the silver medal in 1990 and the bronze in 1998.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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