Physicality in South Korea game 'wake up call' for Dwight Ramos
MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas was largely unbothered in its first three games in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers, winning them by an average margin of 28.7 points.
Then came eternal tormentor South Korea.
The Philippines clawed back from a 17-point deficit and needed late-game heroics from point guard SJ Belangel to take an in what point guard Dwight Ramos described as a wake-up call.
“It was a wake-up call for me. Just the physicality of their players. They really pressured me and I just don’t think I was ready for that,” said Ramos Wednesday at Angeles University Foundation.
Despite standing at 6-foot-4, Ramos was surprised when South Korea employed such physicality that bringing the ball up the floor became a chore for him.
He still finished with a team-high 16 points along with five rebounds, two steals, and one block.
Ramos, however, turned the ball over three times with majority of his points, nine to be precise, coming from the line.
“But as the game went on, I kind of adjusted a little bit, tried to protect the ball a little bit more. It was definitely a wake up call for me. I think it shows we still need a lot of improvement. The game was going their way in the first quarter, first half,” said Ramos.
The Philippines eventually solved the physicality and outscore South Korea 45-34 in the second half.
Gilas’ win pushed the team to a 4-0 record to remain atop Group A while South Korea is at second at 2-1.
The win was also the Philippines’ first against South Korea in eight years.
“Our team made a lot of plays. A lot of people stepped up there. It was just a complete team effort there. I was so surprised. It’s just one of the craziest games I’ve ever played in, really,” said Ramos.