The Ghost of Korea is alive and well as Gilas Pilipinas takes on old rival

Paul Lintag, ABS-CBN Sports

Posted at Aug 15 2017 09:29 AM

The Philippines will play South Korea in a high-stakes knockout game. Photo from FIBA

The Philippines' road to Asian basketball supremacy will go through a familiar rival.

After an incredible fourth-quarter effort to beat Japan, 81-68, South Korea has forged another matchup with Gilas Pilipinas, this time with a spot in the 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup semifinals on the line.

Perhaps the Philippines' greatest rival in Asian basketball, the last Gilas-Korea outing in FIBA Asia was back in 2013 in Manila.

Four years ago, the Philippines, led by Jimmy Alapag, scored a sensational 86-79 win in the semifinals to gain an outright berth to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

That victory was considered a breakthrough for Gilas Pilipinas after the country's countless high-profile defeats to the Asian basketball power.

A year later, Korea would take its win back, beating the Philippines in the quarterfinals of the Asian Games, 97-95, on its way to the gold medal.

The latest major tournament game between the two rival nations was in the Jones Cup last July 19.

South Korea beat the Gilas cadets in Taipei, 83-72, after holding the Philippines to only four percent shooting from deep (1/26).

Despite missing some of its more well-known stars, Korea will enter the quarterfinals with an overall record of 3-1. Aside from beating Japan, the Koreans own a signature win over New Zealand, beating the Tall blacks, 76-75, to wrap up group play.

World no. 27 Gilas Pilipinas will take on World no. 30 South Korea in the 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup Quarterfinals on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. 

This article originally appeared on the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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