MANILA, Philippines – SJ Belangel played hero when the Philippines stopped South Korea, 81-78, for a fourth straight victory in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers on Wednesday at the University of Angeles Gymnasium in Clark, Pampanga.
Belangel found a way to take advantage of a triple from the right wing to hit the bell and give the Filipinos their first win over the South Koreans since 2013.
The Philippines, with their 4-0 record and a place at the top of Group A, secured their ticket to the Fiba Asia Cup in Indonesia even as South Korea lost their first game by a 2-1 list but retained second place. .
– 🏀FIBA Asia Cup (@FIBAAsiaCup) June 16, 2021
In a close competition in which Gilas even lagged early on, Belangel put the Philippines back on top, 77-75, when he drove for a clutch tray with 48.5 seconds to go.
Lee Junghyun tied the game at 78 with 2.9 seconds remaining on a three, forcing Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin to use his last two timeouts.
The Philippines, however, had to dig deep after falling as low as 17 points, 33-16, in the middle of the second.
“It was a great basketball game,” Baldwin said. “It would probably characterize that game because we were surprised by the physique that Korea gave us.”
“I don’t think there is any doubt that these guys are going to compete.”
Dwight Ramos led the Filipinos with 16 points and five rebounds, while Belangel added 14 points and five rebounds.
Kai Sotto, making his senior debut, also finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, while newly naturalized Angelo Koaume threw 11 points and six rebounds.
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