Marc Pingris hugs Gabe Norwood after their victory against South Korea, 86-79. The Philippines will move to the finals and qualified in the 2014 FIBA World. Photo courtesy by Nuki Sabio
By Karl Cedrick G. Basco

As the cliché goes, hitting two birds with one stone, the Philippines will march on the FIBA Championship, the first time since 1973, plus a ticket in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Gilas Pilipinas managed to keep their composure intact in the last three minutes of the game to pull a pulsating victory against their bitter rival South Korea, 86-79, and booked a seat in the 2014 FIBA World in their semi-final series of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship at the jam packed Mall of Asia Arena tonight.

 Ranidel de Ocampo drained an off-the-board basket and a triple with less than two minutes left in the pay-off period to regain the lead, 81-77, while Team Captain Jimmy Alapag buried another trey followed by a shot of Marc Pingris to snatch the win against the Korea-based squad.

6’5” Power Forward Pingris paced the team, offensively and defensively, registering a double-double performance with 16 points and 10 rebounds to fill the position of Marcus Douthit who got injured in the second frame.

Down by three in the second half, Gilas unleashed an 11-0 blitz, nine of which came from Jayson Castro, to establish a seven-point margin with 6:07 left in the third frame, 47-40. Japheth Aguilar further extends the lead into nine with a slam at the end of the period, 65-56.

However, the Koreans stole the driver seat as Mingoo Kim dropped three three-point baskets highlighted by four-point play in the 4:40 mark of the fourth canto followed by a dunk of Seung Jun Lee for a 75-73 lead.

But the Philippines sank clutch baskets for a 13-4 salvo down the stretch to finally avenge their heart-breaking losses against the South Korea since 1986 including the 2011 FIBA Asia battle for third and a game for an Olympic qualifying berth.

Castro added 17 markers while Alapag and De Ocampo conspired for 25 points and nine rebounds.

 M. Kim led the Koreans offense banking game-high 27 points, five from downtown, while Donggeun Yang and Joo-Sung Kim added 11 apiece and will battle for the bronze against the Chinese-Taipei tomorrow.

 The Philippines will face the undefeated Iran, who defeated Taipei in another semi-finals match, tomorrow at the same venue.


Philippines 86- Castro 17, Pingris 16, Alapag 14, De Ocampo 11, Tenorio 9, Aguilar 8, Chan 5, Norwood 2, Douthit 2, Fonacier 2, David 0

Korea 79 – M. Kim 27, J. Kim 11, Yang 11, J. Lee 10, S. Lee 10, Cho 6, S. Kim 2, T. Kim 2, Yoon 0, J. Kim 0

Quarterscores: 15-19, 36-39, 65-56, 86-79


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