Images from FIBA.basketball.
Here we go again. This dance never ends, it seems. On the cusp of the Asia Cup semifinals, the only team standing in the way of Gilas Pilipinas is its old nemesis, South Korea. Gilas, of course, has had a colorful history with the Koreans, and the Filipinos have a penchant for ending up on the wrong side of that history. Things turned in 2013, though, when the Pinoys slew Korea and its curse in the semifinals of the FIBA Asia Championship at the MOA Arena, but since then, the Korean national team has been able to reassert its supremacy over Gilas, beating the Filipinos in all their succeeding matches. This time, in a win-or-go-home scenario, Gilas will have their backs against the wall against a team that has won three straight games, while the Filipinos will be battling with a short-handed and battered roster.

This would have been a dramatic affair already even if it were just a group phase game, but with it being a knockout match, the stakes are much higher and the atmosphere should be intense. Gilas are coming in on the crest of a 3-game win streak, but in each of their games, it seems their potency has waned a bit. They were red-hot against China, but their shooting tapered off against both Iraq and Qatar. In contrast, Korea are getting sharper and sharper with every passing match. In this game, Gilas has to keep things physical and deliberate, lest they lose a shootout against one of the best shooting teams in the continent. 

Terrence Romeo - 5'10 - G
Carl Cruz - 6'3 - F
Gabe Norwood - 6'5 - F
Jio Jalalon - 5'8 - G
Jayson Castro - 5'10 - G
Calvin Abueva - 6'2 - F
June Mar Fajardo - 6'10 - C
RR Pogoy - 6'0 - G
Raymond Almazan - 6'7 - C
Japeth Aguilar - 6'10 - F/C
Christian Standhardinger - 6'8 - F/C
Matthew Wright - 6'2 - G
Ave. Height - 6'3
Ave. Age - 28

KOREA roster
Park Chan-Hee - 30 - 6'3 - G - Incheon ET Land Elephants
Choi Jun-Yong - 23 - 6'7 - F/G - Seoul SK Knights
Lee Jung-Hyun - 30 - 6'3 - G - Anyang KGC
Heo Ung - 24 - 6'1 - G - Wonju Dongbu Promy
Kim Sun-Hyung - 29 - 6'2 - G - Seoul SK Knights
Lim Dong-Seop - 26 - 6'6 - F - Seoul Samsung Thunders
Kim Jong-Kyu - 26 - 6'9 - C - Changwon LG Sakers
Jeon Jun-Beom - 25 - 6'4 - F - Ulsan Mobis Phoebus
Yang Hong-Seok - 20 - 6'6 - F - Chung Ang University
Lee Jong-Hyun - 23 -6'9 - C - Ulsan Mobis Phoebus
Lee Seung-Hyun - 25 - 6'7 - F/C - Goyang Orions 
Oh Se-Keun - 30 - 6'7 - C/F - Anyang KGC 
Ave. Height - 6'5
Ave. Age - 26

- Yes, we all cheered when Gilas waxed hot against the Chinese on Day 1, but that kind of shooting performance may not happen again in this tournament. Shooting 58% from the field as a team against a team as tight as KOR is next to impossible, and we will have to be extra crafty if we want to regularly puncture the hoops against this team. We started hot, but our shooting has tapered off, while KOR started slow but now is raising their percentage. We cannot engage a team like this in a straight up shootout, or we will lose. That's what happened when we lost to them in the 2017 Jones Cup.

FG% after 7 Days:
Gilas - 58% (CHN) - 38% (IRQ)  - 39% (QAT) — 44% overall
Korea - 42% (LBN) - 64% (KAZ) - 48% (NZL) - 46% (JPN) — 50% overall

2017 Jones Cup shooting:
PHI - 52% (2pt), 4% (3pt), 35% (TOT FG), 66% (FT)
KOR - 63% (2pt), 32% (3pt), 51% (TOT FG). 82% (FT)
*There are 5 holdovers from the PHI Jones Cup to this team.
*There are 10 holdovers from the KOR Jones Cup to this team.

- Christian Standhardinger has hogged the headlines in Beirut because of his non-nonsense style of play. He is willing to exchange faces with anyone out there, and has shown an incredible degree of resiliency. He missed the QAT game because of an injury, but he has promised to play no matter what against KOR. He also has a bone to pick with them because the last time he faced KOR, Gilas ended up losing.

Stats: 15.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 66.7 FG%.
vs KOR (2017 Jones Cup): 16pts, 5rebs, 1ast, 1stl.

- Matthew Wright has been nothing but money in this tournament, averaging 3.7 triples a game while shooting 52.4% from beyond the arc. He is in the top 10 in 3pt% and is 2nd overall behind Behnam Yakhchali for triples made per game. Needless to say, he will be a marked man by KOR here, and he will have to be creative in terms of getting to those open spots or finding other ways to score. Of course, like Christian, Matt wants payback because when he played KOR in the Jones Cup, he went ice cold.

Stats: 15.0ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, 3.7 triples per game.
vs KOR (2017 Jones Cup) - 4pts, 2rebs, 3 TOs, 0/7 3pts

- The last two times Gabe played KOR were not good. In the 2015 Jones Cup, Gabe scored 0 points and in the 2014 Asian Games, he was roasted alive by Moon Tae-Jong, who scored 38 points on Norwood. Both games were losses for Gilas, so one cannot blame Gabe if he wants payback. Moon is no longer around, but Gabe will have to limit guys like shooters Lee Jung-Hyun, Lim Dong-Seop, and Lee Seung-Hyun while also trying to stifle star KOR PG Kim Sun-Hyung. It'll be a tall task, but Gabe doesn't want it any other way.

Stats: 7.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 3.0apg, 1.3spg, 1.7bpg, 1.3 triples per game.
Last game (vs QAT) - 10pts, 7rebs, 5asts, 2blks, 2 triples.

5) KOR: OH NO!
- Oh Se-Keun has perhaps been the biggest thorn in Gilas's side ever since he debuted for the KOR NT in the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship. The 6'7 center-forward is maybe the craftiest big man in Asia, and he makes great use of his bulk, footwork, and soft touch around the basket. Gilas has never won a game in the Asia Cup or Asian Games against Oh, and that's a slump they can only break if guys like Standhardinger, Japeth Aguilar, and Raymond Almazan can slow Oh down.

Stats: 13.8ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.3apg, 2.0spg, 69.4 FG%.
Last time vs PHI (2017 Jones Cup) - 14pts, 3rebs, 6/6 FGs.
*Oh Se-Keun-led KOR teams beat the PHI in the following FIBA Asia tournaments: 
- 2009 FIBA Asia Championship (2x)
- 2010 Asian Games (Quarter-Finals)
- 2011 FIBA Asia Championship (3rd place game)
- 2014 Asian Games (group stage)

- Kim Sun-Hyung is nicknamed "The Flash" in the KBL, making him pretty much their version of Jayson "The Blur" Castro. He is widely considered the best PG in the KBL given his speed, shooting, and playmaking. His matchup with Castro (or Romeo) here will be very interesting and very crucial. Both finish well around the basket, shoot well from the perimeter, and can pretty much leave anyone else in the dust. Castro cannot let Kim get hot and vice versa. 

Kim stats: 12.8ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.8apg, 1.8spg, 1.5 triples per game.
Castro stats: 6.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 5.0apg, .

- These two teams play similar styles (lots of passing, running, and shooting), so this game will probably be a shootout and the epitome of pace and space. Right now, Gilas is better at 3pt shooting and offensive boards, but KOR has the edge in most other stats, including FG%, assists, fastbreak points, and even inside scoring. Playing fast has worked for Gilas so far, but against a team that is arguably better at that style of basketball, baka dehado ang Gilas.

3pt% - PHI 42%, KOR 36%
FG% - PHI 44%, KOR 50%
Rebs - PHI 39.7, KOR 38.2
Assts - PHI 19.7, KOR 26.2
Fastbreak Pts - PHI 10.3, KOR 13.5
Pts in the Paint - PHI 30.0, KOR 33.0

- These are two of the most respected and seasoned coaches from both countries, and their head-on collision here is surely going to be explosive. Coach Chot has had some success against KOR, of course, most notably ending the Korean curse in 2013, but he has also absorbed a couple of losses. Hur Jae, meanwhile, is not only a legendary player but also a bemedalled coach. This is his third tour of duty as Korea's head coach, and he has actually been undefeated against the PHI. Interestingly enough, this is only the second time they will face each other as coaches head-to-head. The first time was in the recent 2017 Jones Cup, which KOR won. 

Coach Chot vs KOR - 1-2
2013 FIBA Asia Championship - PHI 86, KOR 79 (Yoo Jae-Hak was KOR coach)
2014 Asian Games - PHI 95, KOR 97 (Yoo Jae-Hak was KOR coach)
2017 Jones Cup - PHI 72, KOR 83 (Hur Jae was KOR coach)

Coach Hur vs PHI - 5-0
2009 FIBA Asia Championship - KOR 69, PHI 56; KOR 82, PHI 80 (Yeng Guiao was PHI coach)
2011 Jones Cup - KOR 78, PHI 70 (Rajko Toroman was PHI coach)
2011 FIBA Asia Championship - KOR 70, PHI 68 (Rajko Toroman was PHI coach)
2017 Jones Cup - KOR 83, PHI 72 (Chot Reyes was PHI coach)

- Gilas x KOR will always be full of drama. The games are usually close and always hotly contested. We play similar styles, after all, and are often among the title contenders in every tournament we join. It seems, though, that even if we have broken KOR's curse, they more often than not still get the better of us. 

Here is the head-to-head for both national teams in their last ten (10) meetings in the FIBA Asia Championship, Asian Games, and Jones Cup:

2017 Jones Cup: KOR 83, PHI 72
2015 Jones Cup: KOR 82, PHI 70
2014 Asian Games: KOR 97, PHI 95
2013 FIBA Asia Championship: PHI 86, KOR 79
2011 FIBA Asia Championship: KOR 70, PHI 68
2011 Jones Cup: KOR 78, PHI 70
2010 Asian Games: KOR 74, PHI 66
2009 FIBA Asia Championship: KOR 69, PHI 56 (group stage)
2009 FIBA Asia Championship: KOR 82, PHI 80 (battle for 7th place)
2009 Jones Cup: KOR 83, PHI 80




Next Post »
0 Comment