Korea’s game against Thailand on Saturday evening served an important purpose — to give the young Koreans a boost of confidence heading into their rematch against Gilas Pilipinas a day later.
Ricardo Ratliffe (Ra Gun-Ah) rested since he is nursing a minor injury. Korea head coach Cho Sanghyun was then able to test combinations that he hardly used over the past three days.
Ratliffe only played seven minutes in the contest.
“Actually because of Ra’s absence, we actually happened to gain a lot of opportunities for the younger ones,” said Cho through a translator after their 120-53 whipping of Thailand.
“So that’s something I can take advantage of going into the next game.”
Of course, Davidson standout Lee Hyunjung was still sensational, tallying 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field with nine rebounds. The 20-year-old also was a whopping plus-50 in the contest.
But the other guys also took full advantage of the game.
Korea University’s big man Ha Yungi did not play versus Gilas, and only played eight minutes against Indonesia last Thursday. But he benefitted the most, playing 28 minutes in the game to finish with 34 points on 14-of-16 shooting from the field. He also had 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a rebound.
Another young big man in 19-year-old Yeo Junseok of Yongan High School also made the most of the opportunity given to him. He logged 26 minutes for 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting with six boards.
Yang Hongseok, a 23-year-old forward, was only averaging 3.5 points per game prior to their Thailand bout. He wound up with 19 points built on five triples in the game.
With or without Ra, Cho and like his players feel confident that they can avenge the 78-81 loss they received last Wednesday on Sunday.
“I can say that we have prepared all that we can up to this point. We can say we are very ready for the game tomorrow.”