Curse broken: Philippines beat Korea for first time, reach Quarter-Finals
DOHA (Qatar) - For the first time ever at the youth level in FIBA competitions, the Philippines defeated Korea with a score of 95-71 to advance to the Quarter-Finals of the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2023.
Prior to this game, the Philippines had played against Korea at the U16 Asian Championship four times and as recently as last year. They had played against each other at the U18 level five times. All nine encounters resulted in victory for Korea.
The tenth matchup between the two teams finally saw the Philippines break this youth version of the "Korea Curse" and they did so by taking control early in the game.
Batang Gilas rained three-pointers and led by 10 points at the end of the first quarter, but that was only the beginning as they led by as much as 34 points, never allowing Korea to close the gap down to single-digits until the final buzzer.
The Philippines shot 4-6 from beyond the three-point line in the first quarter. They didn't cool down after going 5-9 in the second quarter and ended up with 12-26 three-point shooting in total.
Kiefer Alas headed into the game as the Philippines' leading scorer at 17.3 points per game but was held to only 11 points - though he would also get 13 rebounds and 4 assists. That didn't matter as Batang Gilas got 25 points from Joaquin Ludovice, 17 points from Kurt Velasquez, 13 points (and 10 rebounds) from Bonn Daja, and 10 points from CJ Amos.
Korea's captain Daniel Edi mustered his best efforts with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks, but the team was able to connect on only 35.7 percent of their shots from the field.
The Philippines now advance to play against Japan in the Quarter-Finals.
Standout Player: Joaquin Ludovice had scored a combined total of 20 points across three games before today. In the first half alone, he already had 19 points while making 5 three-pointers on 6 attempts. He finish the game as the leading scorer while also connecting on 7 three-pointers - tying the U16 Asian Championship record since the statistic was officially archived in 2013.
Turning Point: The Philippines started the second quarter with a 17-0 run, ignited not only by the three-point shooting but also by dissecting the defense of Korea. There was no turning back after that.
Stats don't lie: Apart from the long-range shooting, the Philippines made the most out of whichever shots they missed. They grabbed 23 offensive rebounds, while Korea grabbed 22 defensive rebounds. They converted that into 21 second-chance points.