BATANG Gilas may have returned to the world stage but the Philippine team faces an uphill climb after ending up in a tough group following the official draw results on Monday of the Fiba Under-17 World Cup set on June 30 to July 8 in Argentina.
The Philippine team ended up in Group D, the only group in the tournament with three teams in the top 10 of the world rankings, as Batang Gilas will take on host and world No.7 Argentina, No.8 Croatia, and No.9 France.
The Philippines, who qualified for the World Cup after ending up fourth in the recently concluded Fiba Asia Under-16 Championship, is at no.31 in the world rankings.
Under the tournament format, teams will battle each of their groupmates, as Batang Gilas opens its campaign against Croatia on June 30, before taking on France the next day and facing Argentina on July 3.
Depending on the result of the group matches, teams in Group D will then face those bracketed in Group C at the start of the Round of 16 knockout battles on July 4. Group C features world no.3 Canada, no.33 New Zealand, and no.34 Montenegro.