Philippines braces for tougher opponents in Asiad basketball

August 23, 2018 - 12:54 PM
The Philippines is bracing for tougher competition in the remainders of the Asiad basketball tournament. (Photo from 2018 Asian Games official website)

The Philippines is preparing for a rough road ahead in the 2018 Asian Games basketball tournament as it looks to recover from a narrow 80-82 loss to China.

Preparing for the worst

The Philippines put up an impressive outing against China in the second half of the game to erase an early 12-point deficit.

With just a little under a minute left to play, the Filipinos held on to a 80-78  edge care of consistent scoring from Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle.

But China’s Zhou Qi and Zhao Rui managed to sink straight baskets to give China the two-point lead.

Filipino Paul Lee tried to save the day with a triple with just six seconds left on the clock but missed the shot.

Highly-touted last minute addition Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers did not disappoint as he led the Philippines with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, the Philippines’ fans and experts are pleased with the team’s performance and expect to bounce back in its remaining assignments.

Yeng Guiao, head coach of the Philippine team, praised his players for their performance but admitted that his players had trouble with China’s height advantage.

“I consider this a win,” said Guiao in media interviews after the game.  “This is a win for us.”

Though he offered no excuses for the loss, Guiao later questioned why a referee from Hong Kong, a Chinese territory, was assigned to oversee the match.

The Philippines’ next assignment is against defending champions South Korea, the leader of Group A on August 27.

Though the Philippines sits above South Korea in the FIBA World Rankings, the Koreans have repeatedly broken the hearts of the Filipinos in past Asiads.

The Korean side robbed the Philippines of a chance at hitting gold in the 1986 Asiad when a controversial foul was slapped on Filipino gunner Allan Caidic, paving the way for the Koreans to escape with the win.

Twelve years later in 1998, the Koreans dismantled a stacked Filipino squad 103-83 in the qualifying round.

The Koreans once again broke Filipino hearts in the 2002 Asiad when a buzzer-beating triple from Lee Sang Min gave Korea a 69-68 win in the semifinal round.

Guiao in another interview said that they are preparing for a Korean squad bolstered by naturalized player Ricardo Ratliffe and adept at ball movement.

Asia’s basketball fans are excited for the coming showdown.

The Philippines, a four-time gold medalist in basketball, is targeting to bounce back from a dismal seventh place finish in the 2014 Asiad.

Analysts, however, foresee a collision course with the powerhouse Iran should the Philippines make it to the crucial stages of the tournament.