There has been much hype heading into the technically “non-bearing” game between Gilas Pilipinas and South Korea.
Of course, the exchange between Korea head coach Cho Sanghyun and Gilas program director Tab Baldwin was at the center of it.
Two days later, Baldwin, a purist of the game, responded to his South Korean counterpart. “Frankly, that’ s pretty rich for any coach to walk off of a game in which you lose the game, and to claim that it was good luck on the part of the opponent.”
Seeing his coach infuriated and his teammate’s work downplayed, Dwight Ramos admitted that the Asia Cup Qualifiers finale was personal for him.
“It felt good to win but really, the main thing from is to learn from it and gain experience from it. Win or lose, we would come out with more experience to improve and to learn from,” said the soft-spoken 6-foot-5 utility player.
“It was a little personal. We wanted to show that we can hang with the big dogs like Korea but… That’s how it was.“
Having that mindset, Ramos had a take-charge mentality last Wednesday.
Entering the final frame, he had already scored 13 markers.
But when it came to crunch time, the 22-year-old wanted the ball in his hands. He drew a couple of fouls in the endgame and grabbed his own misses to seal Gilas’ 82-77 win.
Now that the rivalry series is over likely for the rest of the year, Ramos looks to prove to Gilas that he is not just an on-court leader, but also one off of it.
“As Coach Tab said, I want to be more of a leader, be more vocal on the floor, guide the teammates. I know a little bit of what Coach Tab wants from us. So, I think I need to relay his message to the team more smoothly,” he said.
“That’s my biggest improvement from the game.”