There were a lot of heroes for young Gilas Pilipinas during its monumental triumph over South Korea, Wednesday evening at the AUF Sports & Cultural Center in Pampanga.
As they say, it’s the coaches who draw up plays, but it’s the players who win games.
And when the going got tough for the young national team, Gilas Men program director and head coach Tab Baldwin lauded Dwight Ramos for his heads-up thinking that led to SJ Belangel’s game-winner.
With 2.9 seconds left, Gilas and South Korea saw themselves knotted at 78-all after a booming triple by Hyunjung Lee.
Off a timeout, the 6-foot-5 Ramos had the task of inbounding the ball. His choices were 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto, 7-foot Angelo Kouame, 6-foot-7 Carl Tamayo, and 5-foot-10 Belangel.
Young Korean head coach Cho Sang Hyun was able to negate Baldwin’s first option.
“It was multi-optional, but the primary option was to get Carl Tamayo under the basket with the ball from a direct entry pass from Dwight. But they switched Ra (Gun-Ah) on to Carl, and Ange did not quite execute the way we wanted[, s]o the middle of the lane wasn’t available,” bared Baldwin.
“Dwight did the smart thing, because the worst thing was to get a five-second call and get Korea the ball and with the chance to win.”
Avoiding a five-second violation, Ramos dished the ball to the nearest man in Belangel. Belangel, though, was flanked by 6-foot-2 Jeon Seonghyen.
With the time winding down, Belangel needed to think for himself. And, maybe, hope for a miracle.
“Dwight took the first available option, which was SJ, and they just made the play. Yes, he was an option, but just an entry option just to get the ball inbounds,” continued Baldwin.
Belangel was able to heave a triple over the outstretched arms of Jeon.
Swish. Game, set, Jakarta.
— Tiebreaker Times (@tiebreakertimes) June 16, 2021
Gilas won 81-78 to punch its ticket to the FIBA Asia Cup this August. Belangel dealt South Korea the same heartbreak the country has been experiencing over the past three decades.
And it’s all because of Ramos and Belangel.
“Credit goes to Dwight for making the smart play and SJ just making a play,” he said.
“It’s one of those that you see every now and then. Everybody enjoys it except the other team.”