Gilas Pilipinas renews its long time rivalry with South Korea as they collide in the knockout quarterfinal stage of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup on Wednesday at the Beirut Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut, Lebanon.
Game is set at 6:30 p.m.
The Philippines, which is No. 27 in the FIBA rankings, swept the preliminary round with impressive wins over defending champion China (96-87), Iraq (84-68) and Qatar (80-74) to proceed directly to the quarterfinal round.
The world’s No. 30 South Koreans, behind the efforts of Sunhyung Kim and center Sekeun Oh, are coming off an 81-68 win over Japan to set up a quarterfinals showdown against the Filipinos.
The Filipinos are expected to be led by scoring machine Terrence Romeo, Filipino-German center Christian Standhardinger and Matthew Wright.
Romeo is averaging 17.7 points in three games. Standhardinger, who did not play against Qatar due to stiff neck, is averaging 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games while Wright is also averaging 15 points in three games.
Gilas will also lean on Carl Bryan Cruz, Raymond Almazan, Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy, Japeth Aguilar and Calvin Abueva, who is expected to return against South Korea after suffering a sprained left foot in the second quarter of their game against Qatar.
One of the Korea’s major threats to Filipinos’ campaign is big man Oh, who is averaging 13.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in four games. Kim is averaging 12.8 points and 4.8 assists also in four games.
The South Koreans lost to the Lebanese (66-72) but won against Kazakhstan (116-55) and New Zealand (76-75).
Four years ago, the Filipinos beat the Koreans, 86-79, in the same tournament to return to the 2014 FIBA World Cup after four decades.