Gilas Pilipinas defeated South Korea, 81-78, on Wednesday at Angeles University Gym in Clark, Pampanga as SJ Belangel hit the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.

/ 19 June 2021

Gilas Pilipinas booked a spot in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup in Indonesia with its fourth straight win in Group A of the qualifiers.

Furthermore, the Philippines’ victory ended an eight-year dry spell against South Korea.

“They did really well. They’re making a case for small ball to still be alive,” said Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin.

Belangel chipped in 13 points, five rebounds, and two assists to preserve the country’s unbeaten record.

Aside from the Ateneo guard, Baldwin also praised Dwight Ramos, who was one of the game’s leading scorers with 16 points on 9-of-10 free-throw shooting, five rebounds, and two steals, as well as his contribution to the game-winning shot.

“Dwight did the smart thing because the worst thing would have been to get a five-second call and give Korea the ball with the chance to win the game. Dwight took the first available option and that was SJ and SJ just made the play,” said Baldwin.

The win, however, was not a walk in the park as South Korea almost stole the win after Jeon Seong Hyeon hit a three and took the lead with 75-70 with 2:26 remaining.

Ra Gun-A took charge for the Koreans with 24 points and 15 rebounds as the young team fell to 2-1 for the first time.

Gilas Pilipinas will continue its campaign in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers as they take on Indonesia on June 18.