Jones Cup 2018: Ateneo-Philippines suffers first loss against South Korea

MANILA, Philippines – The road to the Jones Cup title becomes harder for the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles as tougher opponents are now on their way after their easy win against Chinese Taipei Team B. The Ricardo Ratliffe-led South Korea handed Philippines its first loss of the tournament, 90-73 on July 16, 2018 at Xinzhuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City.

Jones Cup 2018: Ateneo-Philippines suffers first loss against Korea
Despite the loss to South Korea, the Blue Eagles learned their lessons the hard way and will try to bounce back against Canada a day after | Photo Credit: ABS-CBN Sports

Ateneo’s first assignment at the Jones Cup was almost like a walk in a park, a very convincing win against Chinese Taipei Team B. But the reality is, it’s getting harder everyday as the Blue Eagles square off with different ball clubs and even national teams around the globe.

The tough tasks started today as they faced Philippines’ arc-nemesis in the region, South Korea.

The Koreans are well-known for being sharpshooters in the basketball world. Going back to the 60’s, when you hear the name: Shin Dong Pa, oldschool players and fans will describe him as the Stephen Curry of that era.

Fast forward to the 2018 Jones Cup, the South Korean ballers still possess the Shin Dong Pa attributes of being marksmen. The Blue Eagles however, matched-up with SoKor in terms of shooting skills. In fact, majority of ADMU’s points came from mid and long range shots.

Aside from their immaculate shooting prowess, the Koreans also had the height advantage over the Filipinos. Add more depth and weight to South Korea’s edges with Ricardo Ratliffe on its roster.

Ratliffe is no stranger to Filipino-style of basketball as he played in the country as Star Hotshot’s reinforcement before getting naturalized in South Korea. Familiarity played a big part in this game for Ricardo as his team led the Philippines all the time.

Despite the height disadvantage, the Blue Eagles fought hard to defy the odds. Matt Nieto was swift from the perimeter while Thirdy Ravena used his speed to get closer to the basket. The efforts of the Ateneo-duo didn’t do that much however for Philippines as South Korea got full control of the ballgame.

Coach Tab Baldwin couldn’t find the perfect combination of players to field in for them to get the momentum. Everytime that Philippines made a basket, South Korea answered in double. Nevertheless, SoKor’s largest lead was just 12 before 4th quarter.

Ateneo had one more quarter to win the game and the Blue Eagles managed to cut the lead to a single-digit, thanks to Adrian Wong and Angelo Kouame.

The discrepancy in the assist department was the key factor in South Korea’s outstanding performance. 28 dimes against 11 is a concrete proof to show South Korea’s unselfish type of basketball that paved way for multiple open shots and double-figured margin in the dying minutes of the last period.

At the end, South Korea maintained its hefty lead to give Philippines its first loss of the tournament, 90-73.

Tomorrow, July 17, 2015, ADMU will be facing the defending champions, team Canada at 3pm. The Blue Eagles will try to improve their current 1-1 record to increase their chance in winning the title.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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