A number of Philippine squads have already experienced facing the Men’s National Basketball Team of South Korea. This time around, it was the defending UAAP Men’s Basketball Champions’ turn.
Though they put up a brave stand, the young Ateneo Pilipinas could not pull the upset rug out from under of South Korea, falling 90-73, Monday evening at the Xinzhuang Gym in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
The Philippines falls to an even 1-1 in the tournament, while the South Koreans remain unblemished in two games.
Surprisingly, even with South Korea having former PBA import Ricardo Ratliffe on the floor, the Blue Eagles were able to keep pace with South Korea during the opening frame. However, the 6-foot-8 naturalized Korean was just too big and too mature for the young Filipinos, towing South Korea to a 42-29 lead midway through the second frame.
Ratliffe was no longer fielded in the second half, finishing the game with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Ateneo mustered a rally late in the third canto, cutting the lead down to just five points after a Jolo Mendoza triple with 2:25 left. But the Koreans had enough firepower to buck every Philippine rally after.
Thirdy Ravena tried to will the Blue Eagles back late in the game, but long bombs by Jeon Junbeom and Heo Ilyoung extended South Korea’s lead to a game-high 17 points, 90-73.
Ravena led Ateneo with 15 markers, five steals, and four assists, while Matt Nieto added 12 points. Ivorian student-athlete Angelo Kouame finished with a double-double for the second straight game with 10 points and 16 rebounds.
Ateneo shot just 12-of-21 from the foul stripe and 5-for-25 from downtown. South Korea, on the other hand, went 10-for-18 from deep.
Heo also had 15 points for South Korea, spiked by three triples.
Ateneo Pilipinas will next face 3D Global Sports-Canada on Tuesday, July 17 at 3:00pm.
Philippines 73 – Ravena 14, Nieto 12, Kouame 10, Wong 9, Verano 5, Mendoza 5, Go 5, Navarro 5, Maagdenberg 3, White 3, Mamuyac 2, Andrade 0.
South Korea 90 – Ratliffe 15, Heo I 15, Heo U 12, Lee J 9, Heo H 6, Kang 6, Jeon 6, Kim J 6, Park 5, Choi 4, Lee S 4, Kim S 2.
Quarterscores: 22-26, 41-50, 60-70, 73-90.