JAKARTA -- Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes joined the rest of the country in lamenting the Philippine basketball team’s heartbreaking loss to South Korea in the 2018 Asian Games on Monday.
Reyes arrived in Jakarta on Sunday, in time to watch the Philippine team take on South Korea in the quarterfinals of the basketball tournament. The Filipinos kept in step with their nemesis for the first three quarters and even built an eight-point lead in the third, but the game got away from them in the final frame.
Turnovers and a failure to secure defensive rebounds doomed the Filipinos, as South Korea made them pay - as they have done time and again - with three-pointers. South Korea outscored the Philippines 27-17 in the fourth quarter for a 91-82 win that ousted the Filipinos from the medal race.
“Sayang,” Reyes told reporters outside of the Basketball Hall at the Gelora Bung Karno sports complex.
“I know everyone is disappointed with the result, but still, we can’t fault the team, anyone from the team, or the coaches, for putting up a gallant fight,” he added.
Reyes believed that Yeng Guiao had the right game plan, as they opted not to double naturalized Korean center Ricardo Ratliffe and instead stay home on their always-dangerous shooters.
“We had the game plan to get the W,” Reyes said. “But (there were) just a couple of breaks.”
The first break came in the third quarter, said Reyes, when Poy Erram crashed badly into the wooden barricades at courtside while chasing for the loose ball. The Blackwater center chipped his tooth and had to be subbed out.
“That unit was playing very well,” Reyes observed. “So that kind of changed the system a little bit, the cohesion a little bit.”
Reyes also rued the team’s rebounding woes, particularly in the fourth quarter when South Korea was able to create several extra possessions.
“They (Korea) were missing their three-point shots (but) they were getting offensive rebounds. Then, it ended up being scramble situations, and that’s where they hit those threes,” he said.
He pointed out that Korea could not hit their triples off their own set plays, thanks to the Filipinos’ tight defense.
“They got their three-point shots on breakdowns and scramble situations,” Reyes said. “Wala na tayong magagawa doon.”
“In my mind, we were one or two plays away from reversing the outcome of this game,” he added. “But I can’t take anything away from this team.”
Though they fall short of a podium finish, the national team has nothing to be ashamed of, said Reyes.
“Coach Yeng and the players, they gave it their all through so much difficulties, great odds. They fought,” he said. “I felt a lot of pride in cheering for them. Sayang. I think we’ve shown that we are competitive with Korea.”
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