JAKARTA, Indonesia – National team head coach Yeng Guiao quickly took the blame after the Philippines men's basketball team bowed out of medal contention in the 2018 Asian Games.
“It’s my fault, I take responsibility for this loss,” said Guiao, minutes after Gilas bowed to arch nemesis South Korea, 91-82, in the knockout quarterfinal on Monday, August 27. (READ: PH falls victim to Korean curse yet again in Asian Games 2018)
Guiao admits his wards could not handle the Koreans’ long bombs, zone defense and even naturalized player Ricardo Ratliffe.
"We just weren't comfortable with the zone," said Guiao. "Even Jordan (Clarkson) had a lot of problems dealing with it. They just zoned us all game long. They stuck with the zone, lived and died with the zone, and we couldn't adjust in time."
A barrage of triples and another monster game from Ratliffe did the trick for the Koreans, who hit 12 triples, five in the fourth quarter, which helped them pull away in the closing minutes.
Ratliffe, a former import for the Star Hotshots in the PBA, was a steadying force all game long for the Koreans, scoring a game-high 30 points, while hauling 14 boards.
He also had 4 of Korea’s 27 assists, proof of the team’s crisp ball movement that had Guiao’s Nationals scrambling on defense.
Even when the Filipinos led comfortably, 54-46, the Koreans stuck to their zone and kept shooting the long bombs that were not falling.
When they did in the 4th quarter, the Koreans began pulling away at 72-68 on a three by Heo Ilyoung.
Stanley Pringle momentarily stopped the bleeding with a reverse layup, but Ratliffe’s dunk and Heo’s three gave the Koreans firm control of the match at 77-70.
Clarkson finished with 25 points and 8 rebounds, while Fil-German Christian Standhardinger backed him up with 16 points and 9 boards.
The loss put the Philippines in the classification phase where the highest finish it can achieve is fifth place, still better than the seventh its Gilas Pilipinas counterpart achieved in the 2014 Incheon Asiad.
“We’ll go for fifth. It’s the least we could do,” said Guiao. – Rappler.com