GILAS Pilipinas faces a tough obstacle right from the start and the path only gets tougher in the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup slated from August 8 to 20 in Lebanon.
The official schedule released on Saturday showed Gilas will take on longtime rival and Asian basketball powerhouse China right in its debut game for Group B on August 9, 1:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m., Manila time). The Philippine team then battles Iraq on August 11 4 p.m. (9 p.m., Manila time), before ending group play against Qatar on August 13 4 p.m.
The top team for each of the four groups advance to the quarterfinals outright, while the second- and third-placed teams from each group face off in the qualification to complete the quarterfinals cast.
In case Gilas ends up second in Group B, the Filipino cagers clash with the third place team in Group A composed of Iran, Jordan, Syria and India.
A win in the qualification round is rewarded with a chance to face Group A’s top team in the quarterfinals. Group A is composed of Australia, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Hong Kong. If the seedings hold, Gilas will meet another powerhouse in Australia as its quarterfinals foe.
A possible rematch with Group B’s top squad awaits in case of a Gilas stunner over the Aussies.
Should the Philippine team fall to third in Group B then manage to beat Group A’s second placer, Gilas will meet Group C’s top squad, which could either be New Zealand, Korea, or Kazakhstan.
If the Philippine team survives the quarterfinals in this scenario, a possible meeting with the winner of the quarterfinals clash between Group D’s top team against Group B’s second placer awaits. If the rankings hold, Australia awaits Gilas in the semifinals in this case.
In any scenario, however, there’s no doubt Gilas Pilipinas will have its hands full.