The Infinite Challenge that is the Korean National Squad



I bought a 999-peso WWE Champions level up pack.


I got a silver 3-star “Balor Club” Finn Balor, a gold 2-star “American Badass” Undertaker, a fuse card to my bronze 2-star “Black Sheep” Braun Strowman, and used three 1-star upgrades to transform my showboat John Cena into a 3-star bronze.


Balor is a fun card to use especially with the black-blue-blue combo.


I bought the pack when Gilas Pilipinas was on the verge of a 30-point deficit.


Yes, I bought the expensive pack to console myself from the trainwreck I witnessed.


Win or lose, I still love my national team. I was never programmed to hate the team. I love Gilas Pilipinas. Was I disappointed? Of course. I thought Jayson Castro was on the verge of explosion and I thought we are never going to lose to Korea with that margin.


Our shots were firing.


Our defense though was lacking.


But how can you really that our defense is lacking when Korea hit 76 percent of their long distance shots?


Our players are disheartened.




No… Koreaphobia.


It’s unfair. During the Jones Cup, we shot 1-of-26 from the three-point area. In the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, they shot 16-of-21.


These Koreans might have gotten their edge (voodoo trickery) over us because we appreciate their entertainment. I enjoyed The Innocent Defendant and followed the likes of Two Days One Night, Running Man, and Knowing Brothers. Does this mean I powered their hex on us?





The giant dude holding the board is Seo Jang Hoon – a legendary Korean center who was part of the 2002 Busan Asian Games squad that left Olsen Racela and the rest of Team Philippines in tears.




Korea better win against Iran. Iran won against host team Lebanon. Inasmuch as I am more familiar with the players of Iran than the players of Korea, I guess their win vindicates our loss. On our side, I hope we can brush off the torment and end the tourney as the fifth place team. We have Lebanon next and this could be the swan song of the beloved Fadi El-Khatib.


Nearly 20 years ago, Lebanon crushed the Philippines, 60 to 50 at the 1999 Asian Basketball Championship (the former name of the FIBA Asia Cup). The team was composed for MBA players led by Pasig-Rizal’s Bong Ravena and Gido Babilonia, Laguna’s Wynne Arboleda, Alvin Teng, and Biboy Simon, and Cebu’s Dondon Hontiveros. Actually, the tourney is a virtual club meet with Philippines sponsored by the Pasig-Rizal Pirates and Lebanon backed by Sagesse. Lebanon won the tourney with El-Khatib taking a backseat to Elle Machantaf.


China and Australia were neck-to-neck prior to the first half. Then Australia outscored China in the second half 52 to 29 to finish the game with a 97 to 71 onslaught. Australia is a team of interest because we’re going to battle them during the FIBA World Cup qualifiers. Guo Ailun had eleven points in the first half but only had two in the second.


Just like our match against Korea, the team that adjusts the best will most likely win the match.


The thing about playing with all heart is when the passion dies down. When we lost to Korea at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, our team played listlessly against Kazakhstan and the latter snatched our bronze medal. After clinching the World Cup invite at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, it was as if we’re contented in just securing the silver finish. Even when we defeated China, it took two quarters before we dominated Iraq.


We will need a naturalized player to battle the low block. We need a towering big that would intimidate the opponents. Andray Blatche is like that on defense… but perhaps we could scramble on a player with the gameplay of Marcus Douthit (a big man should never dribble the ball that far from the basket not unless he’s Dirk Nowitzki).


But more than that, we need to master the Korean gameplay. When I was doing my research, I stumbled on the Korean Basketball League and its Wikipedia page. I know Wiki can be fabricated but looking at it, I saw familiar names on some of their recent imports. Ulsan Mobis had former Tanduay import Ira Clark. Seoul Samsung had Star’s Ricardo Ratliffe and TNT’s Michael Craig. Anyang KGC had TNT’s David Simon. Incheon Electroland had former Air21 import Alpha Bangura. Jeonju KCC had Meralco’s Andre Emmett and Ginebra’s Herbert Hill. Wonju Dongbu had GlobalPort’s Rod Benson. And finally, Busan KT had Star’s Marqus Blakely. Except with our longer schedule, KBL and the PBA have identical gameplay. Maybe we can fuse the dribble drive offense with their pick and roll plays. I mean, we have improved on our three-point shooting and what we need now is to make the shots easier.


Maybe we need to check out the Korea way of basketball.


This way, I won’t have bouts of depression for every game we are fitted against them and that way I wouldn’t console myself with mobile game upgrades.


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