Every single time South Korea goes into the Philippines’ way in any cagefest, uncertainties form right away, owing to the fact that the Koreans have always served as tormentors to the Filipinos for the better part of the decade.
In the ten meetings the Philippines and Korea had in previous international tourneys, the South Koreans won nine of it. The Pinoys’ lone win, of course, came from the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship here in Manila.
Now, both nations will collide again, this time in the quarterfinal stage of the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon.
All eyes are on the looming match-up, with many wondering if the South Koreans will continue their mastery over the Southeast Asian kings, or will the Filipinos break the Korean curse once more to reign triumphant.
There may be lots of what-ifs in this game alone. But for living legend Jimmy Alapag, who was part of that 2013 Gilas team that defeated Korea, he is confident that the current Gilas batch can pull off the victory.
“I’m confident with the guys,” said Alapag Tuesday morning, after the 2017 SEA Games-bound Gilas’ tune-up versus Adamson University in Pasig City.
“We’ve all seen their performance so far. Kayang-kaya nila.”
What makes the 39-year-old confident is that the players that are there in Beirut, Lebanon such as Jayson Castro, Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Calvin Abueva, and Terrence Romeo, have enough experience to, of course, win.
“That’s the luxury of having veterans there like Jayson, Japeth, and Gabe, and even the other guys like Calvin and Terrence,” said the FIBA Asia veteran.
“They’ve been on this stage before, so I’m confident they’ll be ready.”
However, the two-time FIBA Asia Championship silver medalist remains wary of the Koreans and their brand of basketball. “We’ll have a good chance to advance to the semifinals, pero we all know Korea,” warned Alapag.
And with that, Alapag gave out a short but important reminder to the guys out there in the Middle East, who are trying to make the Philippines the best cagers in all of the continent.
“Importante eh we come out and play well,” he said.