By JONAS TERRADO
Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin on Friday did not take kindly the words made by South Korean counterpart Cho Sanghyun, who had earlier described the buzzer-beating three of SJ Belangel in their FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers match as a “lucky shot.”
Baldwin made this clear in a virtual press conference following 76-51 win over Indonesia, adding that Cho’s comments should give Gilas enough motivation going into the second meeting of both countries this Sunday, June 20.
“We already read that the Korean coach felt that we were lucky to win the game, and frankly I think that’s pretty rich that a coach would walk off a game in which they lose the game and claim that it was good luck on the part of your opponent,” said Baldwin.
“We will make sure that is highlighted, and I’m sure that would give our players an extra incentive. I don’t think we’re expecting to go out there making friends on Sunday,” added Baldwin.
Gilas defeated South Korea, 81-78, last Wednesday, June 16 after Belangel used the glass to convert a tough-angled three off Seounghyun Lee.
The victory ended the Philippines’ five-game losing streak over South Korea while also securing a spot in the Asia Cup in Jakarta this August.
Some also described Belangel’s winner as a role reversal to the Philippines’ heartbreaking loss in the semifinals of the 2002 Busan Asian Games when Lee Sang Min drained a three at the buzzer.
“We actually planned out a switch from that last two seconds so that there’s no space for a second shot,” Cho said through a translator. “But it was a lucky shot. So there was nothing we had to do to fix it.
“But on second thought, maybe we could have done a trap. But overall, it was a lucky shot. There was no way of defending it.”
Carl Tamayo’s status for Gilas Pilipinas’ return match against South Korea is still being determined after hurting his ankle in the 76-51 victory over Indonesia.
Tamayo had to leave on a wheelchair after stepping on the foot of Indonesia veteran Arki Wisnu while going for the rebound during the fourth quarter of the game.
“It’s not overly serious, but he’s in pain,” Baldwin said. “He still feels pain in the ankle so it may be upgraded.”
Asked of Tamayo’s availability for the second meeting with the Philippines’ old rivals, Baldwin said that it would be determined once more details come out.
“I think certainly he won’t be active at all tomorrow, and whether he will be ripe for Sunday, I would say it’s not probable. But till the doctors get me more information, I don’t know,” Baldwin concluded.
Tamayo was one of the key figures in Gilas’ dramatic 81-78 victory over the South Koreans last Wednesday that sealed the country’s place in the Asia Cup in Jakarta this August.
The University of the Philippines recruit had 10 points in that contest before posting six points, four rebounds and two assists against Indonesia prior to the injury.