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The Philippines did all their homework on defense, shadowing every 3-point shooter from Korea and making life difficult for 7’3 Ha Seung-Jin but just couldn’t convert their shots as they fell 56-69 against the favored Korean squad in the FIBA Asia Men’s Basketball Championship in Tianjin, China.

Yang Heejong led Korea with 14-points. Oh Sekeun and Kim Minsoo logged in 11 points apiece. Cyrus Baguio, who’s razzle-dazzle plays wowed the crowd, was RP Team’s bright spot with a game-high 16 points including an ankle-breaking cross-over behind the back fastbreak layup in one instance.

Despite their cold shooting, the Nationals still found a way to battle back from a 13-point second quarter deficit as Cyrus Baguio wowed the crowd of 6,000 – including NBA star Yi Jianlian and the Chinese national team – by leading a big RP run in the third period.

Complementing Mick Pennisi’s three-point shooting, Baguio scored on dazzling plays in the open court, helping the Nationals to close the gap to within 36-40.

Powerade-RP was still in the match, 50-55, midway in the final quarter when the Koreans went on a decisive 12-2 run to seal the fate of the Nationals, 67-52.

Baguio led the RP charge with 16 points.

Ahead by only three, the Koreans capitalized on a 14-4 binge in the second quarter to post a 35-22 lead, a six-minute stretch when the Nationals scored only a basket per three minute intervals.

Willie Miller then drained a three-pointer – his first after six attempts – to trim the gap at 10 by halftime.

Compounding the Nationals woes was their poor shooting percentage from the floor, going just 9-of-35 for a paltry 26 percent.

In contrast, Korea proved more accurate from the field by making 46 percent of their shots (13-of-28).

Kim Minsoo already had nine for the Sokors at halftime and was chiefly responsible for that second quarter breakaway, scoring seven straight points including a two-handed slam, to instigate that big Korea scoring run.

Earlier, the Nationals also trailed by 11, (4-15), but Mick Pennisi’s three-pointer at the 4:09 mark of the first quarter got Powerade-RP going.

The period ended with the Nationals down by just three, 14-17.

RP five faces Chinese Taipei next in the second round.

The scores:

Korea 69 – Yang 14, Kim 11, Oh 11, Kim Joo Sung 8, Kang 7, Ha 6, Lee 6, Joo 2 Yang Donggeun 2, Lee Jung-Suk 2.

Powerade-RP 56 – Baguio 16, Pennisi 9, Taulava 7, Raymundo 6, Dillinger 5, Yap 4, Norwood 4, Miller 4, Thoss 1, Helterbrand 0, Santos 0.

Quarter scores: 17-14; 35-25; 51-44; 69-56.

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