Justine Baltazar had 11 points and nine rebounds to lead Gilas PH’s charge against Indonesia. —PHOTO WITH PERMISSION FROM FIBA

After the Philippines beat Korea on SJ Belangel’s buzzer-beater from Beyond the Arc last Wednesday in a Fiba Asia Cup (ACQ) qualifier, coach Cho Sang-hyun was asked about the defeat.

“It was a fluke,” the new Korean manager said after the game.

Tab Baldwin has heard of it.

“[F]frankly i think it’s rich enough for a coach to leave… a game in which you lose the game and pretend it was luck from your opponent, ”said the head coach of Gilas Pilipinas after Gilas Pilipinas retained his ACQ blank slate with a 76-51 victory over Indonesia on Friday. “So we’re going to make sure that is highlighted and I’m sure that will give our players a bit of [an] motivation.”

“I don’t think we’re going to go there to make friends on Sunday.”

Of course, Baldwin could just chase lightly; he may be looking for some buttons to push so his young team can continue their education and not lose an opportunity to get into Sunday’s game against Korea. After all, while gambling makes no sense in the ACQ scheme, it provides the national program with a legitimate game to continue measuring its progress and refining its weaknesses.

In fact, Baldwin had called the celebration of the Philippines’ victory over a country that has inflicted its most painful defeats “premature”.

And that’s understandable. Wednesday’s triumph, after all, was just one of many games his young wards have on the long, winding journey to Gilas Pilipinas’ home at the 2023 World Cup.

“We have two priorities and those priorities are to do everything we can in the short term, to prepare for the long term, but also to try to win games,” said Baldwin. “So luckily as we move through the process of preparing for Sunday’s game, it’s a learning curve for the players in and of itself – learning how to prepare for a game, learning the scout reports and how to get them. forward to the floor. So it’s both a short-term goal for the team, to be able to play as well as possible against Korea, but also to learn how to do it with a very short lead time in terms of preparation to play the big boys. matches and tournaments. . Also, a lot could have been lost in the translation regarding Cho’s comments and in reality, he may never have wanted the remark to be dismissive.

But Baldwin has to motivate Gilas Pilipinas against Korea, as practice matches against powerful Asian teams don’t exactly dot the domestic schedule.

So a little blow, real or imagined, on the shoulders of the young Filipinos as they dive into the 3pm rematch against the Koreans at the Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga will do a lot of good, especially since so many players de Gilas Pilipinas are too young to be caught up in the rivalry of the two countries.

What they’ve absorbed and learned is the CliffsNotes version of the rivalry, which is enough for them to know what to expect.

“We know it will be a difficult match,” said naturalized center Ange Kouame.

“This game is going to be a battle,” added Dwight Ramos, the Philippines’ most consistent player over the past two windows. “I know they are going to come out strong and show that our victory is just luck.”

“So we just have to prove to [South Korea] … That we are not something that could be taken lightly, ”Ramos added.

“We are young but we have this heart. This “puso”.

You could say they got Baldwin’s message. INQ

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