|Ricardo Ratliffe played hurt against Indonesia, but he is expected to play against Gilas on Sunday. FIBA/Paul Ryan Tan (file photo)|
MANILA--With South Korea quickly pulling away from Thailand in their Saturday night clash in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Coach Cho Sang-Hyun kept naturalized center Ricardo Ratliffe at the bench a little longer and let Ha Yun-Gi put up a career game.
However, as Cho revealed after the 120-53 rout, it actually goes beyond the foregone conclusion.
The Korean coach bared during the post-game press conference that the former Magnolia import was actually playing hurt.
"With the game being played tonight, Ra Gun-Ah (Ratliffe's Korean name) had a little bit of injury issues," Cho said.
With only the full overnight to ponder about South Korea's next opponent, Gilas Pilipinas, he admitted, "We're not very confident about tomorrow's match because of the injury."
Cho did not disclose on which part of the body Ratliffe is actually hurt, but the former said that the injury is a minor one.
"Ra's situation with his injury is not that severe. We just wanted to give him some break for the game tomorrow," Cho further quipped, hinting that Ratliffe is probable for the South Korea-Gilas rematch.
Ratliffe was actually solid in his seven-and-a-half-minute stint against Indonesia, making both his two field goal tries and a solitary free throw for five points alongside four rebounds.
The rematch with South Korea set at 3 p.m. Sunday is the only thing left standing in the way of Gilas' Group A sweep bid.
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