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Gilas pips South Korea anew to sweep ACQ group

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Gilas Pilipinas held on despite a gritty stand from South Korea to complete a 6-0 sweep of Group A play in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers through an 82-77 win on Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

The Koreans somehow fizzled down the stretch, leading to clutch moments from Gilas to seal its second straight win against its archrival.

Despite South Korea clicking with its well known perimeter game, Gilas responded with crucial field goals of its own.

The big moment happened with 31 seconds left in the game when Will Navarro saved Gilas' play despite South Korea nearly forcing the steal, finding Balti Baltazar for the slam dunk that put Gilas' lead at four, 79-75.

Ricardo Ratliffe responded with a quick layup to cut the lead down to two, 79-77, with 25.5 seconds remaining.

However, Lee Dae-Sung was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul while trying to stop SJ Belangel from getting the inbound.

Belangel, who nailed the game-winning three-pointer for Gilas against South Korea in their first meeting on Wednesday night, somehow kept South Korea in the game this time as he only made a split from the free throw line.

In the extra possession, Dwight Ramos also went 1-for-2 from the free throw line, but he grabbed the offensive rebound off his own second charity miss, leading to another split from the stripe for the final tally.

Ramos led Gilas with 19 points, three rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

RJ Abarrientos, Kai Sotto, and Jordan Heading each added 10 markers.

Ricardo Ratliffe, playing through an undisclosed minor injury, made his first six field goals before finishing with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists.

Box Scores:

Philippines 82-Ramos 19, Abarrientos 10, Sotto 10, Heading 10, Navarro 8, Kouame 7, Belangel 6, Baltazar 6, Go 3, Nieto 3, Chiu 0

South Korea 77-Ratliffe 20, H. Lee 13, Yang 12, D. Lee 9, Kim 8, S. Lee 8, Jeon 3, Byeon 2, Yeo 2, Ha 0

Quarterscores: 18-20, 38-34, 56-54, 82-77

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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