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Magoo Marjon looks back on most iconic call — Jimmy Alapag’s dagger vs South Korea

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Tiebreaker Times Magoo Marjon looks back on most iconic call — Jimmy Alapag's dagger vs South Korea Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  Magoo Marjon Jimmy Alapag Gilas Pilipinas Men 2013 FIBA Asia Cup
Photo by Glenn Michael Tan/Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas

Magoo Marjon had the best seat in the house during the knockout game between Gilas Pilipinas and South Korea back in the 2013 FIBA Asia Cup. 

Having worked the night before — calling the Philippines’ 88-58 rout of Kazakhstan to advance to the Final Four — Marjon, a student of the game, made sure to do one thing before heading to the Mall of Asia Arena the next day: call Olsen Racela.

“‘Yung Kazakhstan game, around 10 PM natapos ‘yung game. The next day, I actually called Coach O to ask permission for the specific reason that if the game came down to free throws and Gilas makes free throws, either Gabe [Norwood], Jeff [Chan], or Jimmy [Alapag], whoever makes free throws… If I could say, ‘That was for Olsen Racela. Para sa ‘yo ‘yun Coach Olsen Racela!'” disclosed Marjon during 2OT’s 2013 Gilas lookback episode, presented by SMART Sports and supported by Team Phenom Sportswear.

Marjon was, of course, referring to was the 2002 Asian Games semifinals that pitted the Philippines and arch-rival South Korea.

That game saw Racela miss two crucial free throws that would have given the Philippines a four-point lead. Lee Sang Min knocked down a buzzer-beating triple seconds later to give the hosts a dramatic 69-68 win.

“Masakit pa rin ‘yun kay Coach Olsen. 2002, eleven years ago. There was still some pain for Coach Olsen. Pasintabi.”

Racela assured Marjon, though, that the 2013 encounter between both squads wouldn’t come down to free throws.

And it did not. Alapag’s iconic triple resulted in Marjon making one of the most memorable calls in Philippine basketball.

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With 54 ticks left and Gilas clinging to an 81-79 lead, Marc Pingris made a hard screen against Kim Tae-Sool and freed up the Mighty Mouse.

“Six seconds to work with. Jimmy launches it… Baaang!”

Those words just came out of Marjon, according to him. An out-of-body experience indeed.

“Given all of the history, having followed Philippine basketball since time immemorial, knowing the history between the Philippine team and the South Korean team, it was a dream come true for me first and foremost calling that game. And, actually, nung nangyari na ‘yun, right when it was unfolding in front of my very own eyes. It was incredible!” recalled Marjon, who was calling the game with Quinito Henson.

“It was unbelievable! Something, I didn’t prepare for, those lines. It just happened, it just came out. It was an outpouring of all of my tears and emotions I guess. A celebration for me personally.”

Racela’s words came true.

At the end of the day, Marjon simply felt relieved that he did not have to bring up the heartbreak of Busan.

“Good thing it did not come down to it, at buti pinayagan ako ni Coach Olsen.”

And it was not just for Racela. That shot was for every Filipino who experienced heartbreak from the Koreans.

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