JORDAN’S surprisingly easy win over China in the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers made the battle for the final few tickets to basketball’s biggest showpiece a lot more interesting - and complicated.
With the qualifiers down to one final playdate, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Philippines are tied at 6-5 (win-loss) in their respective groups and will likely feature in the race for the seventh and last World Cup spot allotted for Asia.
At the end of Friday’s matches, here’s how the teams are stacked up in the two groups:
New Zealand 10-1
Under the competition format, the top three teams in each group and the best fourth placer will advance to the Fiba Basketball World Cup in August. China, seeded into the tournament as host nation, will no longer count in the rankings. Ties between two teams in the same group will be broken by goal difference among the teams involved, while ties between two teams belonging to different groups will be broken via goal difference in all their games to determine the best fourth-place team.
Here are the matches that will have a bearing on the race:
Jordan vs. New Zealand
Lebanon vs. Korea
Iran vs. Australia
Kazakhstan vs. Philippines
Incidentally, all the four matches will be held at the same time [10:30 p.m. Manila time], which means there will be a lot of scoreboard watching while the matches are ongoing.
How will the Philippines qualify to the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup?
Team Pilipinas will qualify if it wins over Kazakhstan and either Lebanon or Jordan lose their respective matches. The Philippines will end up either inside the top three of Group F or the best fourth-placed team with a 7-5 card.
If both Lebanon and Jordan win, can the Philippines still qualify to the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup if it wins over Kazakhstan?
Even if it wins over Kazakhstan, the Philippines will no longer qualify if Lebanon and Jordan win their final matches. With China no longer part of the rankings in Group E, Jordan, under such a scenario, will take the third spot due to a +3 goal difference against Lebanon, which will drop to fourth. In determining the best fourth placer, Lebanon will win out by virtue of a superior goal difference over the Philippines. So far, Lebanon has a +99 goal difference (computed by the points scored in all games minus the points given up), while the Philippines has +17.
Is there any other way the Philippines can gain a ticket to the Fiba Wold Cup?
Yes, the Philippines still has a chance to make it outright to the Fiba World Cup, but the odds of it happening are remote since it is dependent on a Japan loss to Qatar. Here's how it can happen:
- The Philippines will automatically advance to the World Cup if it ends up in a tie for third place with Japan due to its sweep of the Japanese in the first round. That will happen if the Philippines beats Kazakhstan, Iran beats Australia, and Japan loses to Qatar.
- The Philippines will advance to the World Cup outright if it ends up in a three-way tie with Iran and Japan. That happens if the Philippines wins over Kazakhstan and Japan and Iran lose their respective matches. Japan will take second spot, while the Philippines gets third place in Group F, with Iran falling to fourth due to an inferior goal difference (11, -5, -6 in that order)
If the Philippines loses to Kazakhstan, can the Philippines still qualify in the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup?
The Philippines will no longer qualify for the Fiba World Cup if it loses to Kazakhstan even if Jordan or Lebanon lose their respective matches.If all three teams end up at 6-6, Jordan will still end up as the third placer in Group E, with Lebanon sliding down to fourth and beating the Philippines via goal difference.
Simply put, the Philippines cannot afford to lose its game against Kazakhstan.