S. Korea beat Clarkson's Philippines as disgraced Japan head home

Faisal KAMAL
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points to keep the Philippines fighting, but South Korea took the game away in the final quarter

Defending champions South Korea overcame NBA star Jordan Clarkson's Philippines in a hard-fought Asian Games basketball match in Jakarta while the scandal-hit Japanese team crashed out on Monday.

US-born Ricardo Preston Ratliffe scored 30 points for South Korea as they won the quarter-finals encounter 91-82 to guarantee at least a bronze in 5x5 basketball.

South Korea will play their semi-final on Thursday against Iran, who outplayed a Japanese team that had lost four players who were sent home for buying sex during the continental games.

The expulsion of Yuya Nagayoshi, Takuya Hashimoto, Takuma Sato and Keita Imamura, who were spotted in a red light district wearing their team jersey last week, appeared to have a major impact as they lost 93-67.

But victory for South Korea meant the team kept up their supremacy in the regional Olympics over the Philippines, who last won against the Asian giants in the 1962 edition.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Clarkson -- who joined his national side late after the US league released him in a last-minute U-turn -- scored 25 points to keep the Philippines fighting, but South Korea took the game away in the final quarter.

Ratliffe told reporters South Korea had executed their game plan well despite Clarkson's best efforts.

"I think he (Clarkson) did a great job especially in the first half. He did what he does best. He also came strong in the second half," Ratliffe said of his former teammate from their University of Missouri days.

However Ratliffe sympathised with the Philippines who put a team together for the Asian Games at the last minute after 10 of their players were suspended in an on-court brawl during a World Cup qualifier.

"I think it has do a lot with the chemistry, they are a new team. They just got together a week before the games, so I think they did a great job," said Ratliffe.

"Had they got chemistry and stayed with the team, I think they would have done very very well."

Philippines coach Yeng Guiao said that he could not have asked anything more from his team, also singling out Clarkson for praise.

"He was making his best effort to help the team," said Guiao. "Korea just played better today. They got their rhythm with the big point shots in the last quarter. Before that we were playing decent against them," he added.

Meanwhile China's own NBA stars Zhou Qi (Houston Rockets) and Ding Yanyuhang (Dallas Mavericks) helped their side outplay Indonesia 98-63.

They will play their last-four game against Taiwan, who beat Syria 82-75.