By JONAS TERRADO
The South Korea cage team received praise on social media for cleaning its locker room after suffering a second straight defeat to Gilas Pilipinas at the conclusion of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
A photo tweeted by Aldo Tong showed a very tidy locker room inside the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Pampanga in a kind gesture that was a stark contrast to their battles with the host nation during the final window of the continental qualifiers.
“Despite the loss, no hard feelings,” Tong said in the tweet.
Gilas and South Korea played a pair of thrilling battles during the Asia Cup Qualifiers, with the former ending up winning both times with an 81-78 and 82-77 decisions.
But South Korean coach Cho Sanghyun drew the ire of some Filipino fans after describing SJ Belangel’s buzzer-beating three in the first meeting as a “lucky shot,” a comment that didn’t sit well with Gilas coach Tab Baldwin.
Cho also said that he doesn’t consider the Philippines a rival after the South Koreans fell short again, 82-77.
There was also no animosity even when the two squads went back to Quest Hotel in Clark, with photos showing Gilas players having a light moment with their South Korean counterparts.
Mike Nieto, who posted a group photo between some players from the two teams, also called on fans to refrain from making derogatory comments against the South Koreans and the popular K-Pop group BTS which have been making rounds on social media.
“Thanks for your support mga kababayan! But please no below the belt remarks to Korea! We respect them! (Especially) BTS! Army tayo!” said Nieto.