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SJ Belangel's trey lifts Gilas over SoKor in ACQ

SJ Belangel won it for Gilas! FIBA/Paul Ryan Tan
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--South Korea looked to be postponing the Philippines' party momentarily after Lee Hyun-Jung seemed to have forced their game on Wednesday night to overtime.

But SJ Belangel delivered the match's most memorable shot.

Belangel's tough three-pointer just as the final buzzer sounded gave Gilas Pilipinas a wild 81-78 comeback win over South Korea in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

With Lee Seoung-Hyun all over him, Belangel was forced to go for a tough fallaway as time was expiring.

The ball, however, kissed the glass and went in, giving Gilas the huge win that formally clinched a spot in the FIBA Asia Cup in August in Jakarta.

Belangel's game winner canceled Lee Hyun-Jung's equalizer also from beyond the arc with 2.9 seconds, which was set up after Ange Kouame missed what would have been the dagger bonus free throw off Lee's foul.

Dwight Ramos led Gilas, which beat South Korea for the first time since the 2013 FIBA Asia Cup semifinals in Pasay, with 16 points, five rebounds, two steals, and one block.

Belangel added 13 points, five rebounds, and two assists as the Philippine side remained unbeaten after four games.

Ange Kouame had 12 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one block, while Kai Sotto made 11 markers, seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal in their much anticipated debut in Gilas' senior team.

Ricardo Ratliffe put up 24 points, 15 rebounds, and two assists for South Korea, which lost for the first time in the ACQ after a 2-0 start during the first window last year.

Both teams will face off again on Sunday.

Box Scores:

Philippines 81-Ramos 16, Belangel 13, Kouame 12, Sotto 11, Tamayo 10, Baltazar 6, Abarrientos 6, Go 4, Nieto 3, Navarro 0, Tungcab 0

South Korea 78-Ratliffe 24, H. Lee 15, S. Lee 9, Jeon 9, Kang 7, Moon 6, Yang 4, Kim 2, D. Lee 2

Quarterscores: 12-21, 36-44, 56-57, 81-78

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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