Philippines representative for the 40th William Jones Cup gave South Korea a competitve battle yesterday at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in Taiwan.
South Korean’s naturalized player and former PBA import Ricardo Ratliffe led his team piling up their lead in the first half and head on the the following half by beating the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 90-73.
Philippines logged its first defeat in Jones Cup after an impressive start by beating the host nation’s developmental team, the Chinese-Taipei White, 87-64.
South Korean is always one of the biggest thorns for team Philippines in an international tournament. Last year during the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup which was held in Lebanon, team SoKor defeated the Gilas Pilipinas, 118-86 behind their hot shooting from the field and its suffocating defense.
Yesterday, this was experienced by the young Ateneo team as South Korea featured several of its key players. Chan Hee Park, Junyong Choi, Junghyun Lee, and Junbeom Jeon were again present for their national men’s basketball squad.
The reigning champions of the UAAP put up a show early in the game as they surprised the Koreans in the first quarter where they led 10-7.
However, adjustment made by the opposing team and the patent perimeter shooting of team South Korea got switched ON as they finished the first half leading 50-41.
Coach Tab Baldwin and his troops were resilient and attempted to make a comeback in the third quarter. The Blue Eagles managed to cut the South Korea lead back to single-digit, 62-57. Then Ratliffe and his teammates had an answer as they responded with their own 8-1 surge as they close to quarter, 70-60.
The Blue Eagles made another attempt to takeover the game after Thirdy Ravena converted his driving lay-up, 79-71 with 3:27 in the fourth quarter.
As usual, team South Korea always had an answer and this time they found it from Junbeom Jeon who sank two consecutive three-pointers. The lead was back in double-digits and eventually they beat their opponent.
Angelo Kouame had a back-to-back double-double performance after dropping 10 points and 16 rebounds. Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto added 14 points and 12 markers respectively.
Philippines-Ateneo Blue Eagles is scheduled today at 3PM (PHI time) against another top team in the Jones Cup which is the team Canada.