Gilas Pilipinas repeated over bitter basketball rival South Korea, winning 82-77 and sweeping their group 6-0 at the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers on Sunday at Angeles University Foundation Gym in Pampanga.
The Filipinos proved their 81-78 stunner over their Asian nemeses was no fluke by outhustling the Koreans down to the final second.
The hosts also won the shooting game, connecting on 37 percent of their attempts from behind the arc.
Dwight Ramos led the way for Gilas with another all-around performance, scoring 19 points, including five triples, to go with 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Kai Sotto, RJ Abarrientos and Jordan heading scored 10 points each to fend off RA Guna's 20 points and 13 rebounds for the visitors.
Abarrientos and Heading also drained 2 triples each to account for Gilas' perimeter shooting.
After trailing Korea 9-0, Gilas cut the deficit to just 20-18. The Filipinos outscored the visiting team in the second quarter 20-14 to claim 38-34 halftime lead.
It was neck and neck for both squads in the third, but Abarrientos drilled a triple to close the quarter with Gilas ahead 56-54.
Gilas was beginning to pull away midway through the fourth on Ramos' 3-pointer with 3:44 to go, but the Koreans still threatened by hitting their shots from the outside.
A pair of free throws and a layup by Guna brought Korea to within 79-77.
But SJ Belangel and Ramos sank crucial free throws to seal the deal for Gilas.
Prior to the game, both teams secured berths to the FIBA Asia Cup tournament proper this August.
The Philippines beat South Korea in their first face-off in the qualifiers, 81-78. It was Belangel who delivered the killer blow against the visiting team via a buzzer-beating trey.