Gilas wary of vengeful South Korea in FIBA qualifiers

Photo from FIBA

Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes expects rival South Korea to come out with a lot of motivation when the two teams face twice in this month’s FIBA World Cup Qualifiers at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Reyes said South Korea will come in eager to avenge its two defeats to Gilas in last year’s FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers coupled with the desire of securing another World Cup berth through the Group A qualifiers which starts Feb. 24.

Kim Sun Hyung, one of South Korea’s longest mainstays but was not with the team during the continental qualifiers held in Pampanga, also expressed his intentions to beat Gilas in a recent article published on the FIBA website.

“It is time for revenge. I am ready and confident about beating them in the two games,” Kim said.

With him and other veterans back in the fold to back up former PBA import Ricardo Ratliffe, South Korea hopes to wrest back control of the rivalry on Feb. 24 and 28.

“This is going to be a different Korea team because they’re fighting for qualification and kailangan talaga nilang manalo,” said Reyes. “Not only they are coming in for revenge, they are also coming in for qualification and survival to get into the World Cup.

“I think we’re going to see a different Korea team and I think we will see a lot of veterans that are coming in the February window,” Reyes added.

The Philippines ended an eight-year drought against South Korea last year when SJ Belangel’s three-pointer using the glass at the buzzer gave Gilas a dramatic 81-78 win at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

Gilas repeated the feat a few days later, this time using little magic to eke out an 82-77 victory.

Both teams fielded young players for that qualification window, but this time Gilas will field a mixture of its pool members and a few from Reyes’ PBA squad TNT Tropang Giga.