In what was billed as a battle of the two best teams, Mighty Sports-Go for Gold Philippines withstood a furious comeback to hold off South Korea, 89-82, in the 41st William Jones Cup at the Changhua County gym in New Taipei City Tuesday evening.
The Korean national team, which is using the tournament as preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, scored a devastating 117-55 win against Indonesia Monday, but were overpowered by Mighty, which rises as the lone undefeated team in the tournament.
Facing a 72-67 deficit in the early goings of the fourth quarter, the Philippine delegation mounted a 14-2 run to create an 81-74 cushion with 2:05 to go. They never looked back to deal the Koreans their first loss against five tries.
Renaldo Balkman led the Philippines' offensive charge with 19 points and eight rebounds. Zach Graham meanwhile added 17 markers.
Korean naturalized big Guna Ra, more commonly known as Ricardo Ratliffe, paced his team's offense with 24 points and 20 rebounds. Junyong Choi added 14.
The two teams started the game neck-and-neck with the Philippines emerging with a 23-21 lead after one.
However, Mighty pulled away with a 19-5 spurt to take a 15-point lead, 43-28 towards the end of the half.
The opposition however quickly erased a 13-point halftime deficit through their zone defense and timely outside shooting.
Ratliffe and reserve Hoon Heo conspired to help turn a 56-48 deficit to a 66-60 advantage to end the third quarter.
Mighty however did not let the run dictate the rest of the game, mounting their version of a comeback to regain the lead, 74-73, with 4:50 to go, following a tough floater from Balkman.
In the tournament, there are no playoffs, which means the team with the best record will win the chmapionship.
The Philippine delegation will enjoy a much-needed two-day break and continue their run against the Indonesians on Friday, July 19, 3:00 P.M., at the same venue.
PHI (82) -- Balkman 19, Moore 17, Graham 16, Phelps 14, Gray 7, N'Diaye 6, Williams 5, Adams 3, Brickman 2.
KOR (80) -- Ra 24, J Choi 14, J Lee 11, D Lee 11, Heo 9, S Lee 5, S Kim 4, J Kim 4
Quarter Scores: 23-21, 51-38, 60-66, 89-82.