Coach Cho believes there's no rivalry between Gilas and South Korea

Published June 20, 2021, 10:28 PM

by Jonas Terrado

South Korea coach Cho Sanghyun (FIBA photo)

South Korea coach Cho Sanghyun said he doesn’t consider the Philippines as a rival despite the history of memorable battles between the two nations in the Asian basketball scene.

“I personally don’t really think of the Philippines as a rival,” Cho said through a translator after South Korea suffered an 82-77 loss to Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers held Sunday, June 20 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

Cho’s comments has surely upset some Filipino basketball fans once more, days after saying that SJ Belangel’s game-winning three to beat South Korea, 81-78, in the Clark window opener last Wednesday as a “lucky shot.”

Gilas coach Tab Baldwin used Cho’s description as motivation in the return match that ended with the Philippines posting back-to-back wins over South Korea for the first time since the country’s win in the 1985 ABC Championship.

But Cho, who was part of South Korea’s great escape against the Philippines in the 2002 Busan Asian Games semifinals as a player when teammate Lee Sang Min hit a three at the horn, added that he always learns things whenever they play the Filipinos.

“I always find useful things after playing against the Philippines, so that’s my perspective on this game as well,” he added.

South Korea fell short in the end as Gilas was able to get the necessary breaks to complete a six-game sweep of Group A.

The South Koreans finished second with a 4-2 record as they now shift their focus on the Olympic Qualifying Tournament campaign in Kaunas, Lithuania and the FIBA Asia Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia where they might face Gilas down the road.