Smart Gilas Pilipinas booked its ticket to the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain, beating long-time tormentor South Korea, 86-79 at the semifinals of the 27th Fiba Asia Championships at the Mall of Asia (MoA) Arena. The Philippines goes for the gold medal against 2007 and 2009 champion Iran, who beat Chinese Taipei 79-60.
Showing all heart and determination, the shorter but more hungry Philippine team endured losing Marcus Douthit midway through the second quarter. The naturalized center aggravated his bruised calf/shin while attempting a short stab. Though suffering a hamstring injury of his own, forward Marc Pingis displayed grit and effort by carrying the scoring slack for Gilas with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Philippines last competed against the best of the world when it also hosted the 1978 edition of world championships, finishing 8th.
Various editions of the Philippine team had their chances against sharp-shooting South Korean…
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