CHANGSHA, China – Gilas Pilipinas kicks off its second round campaign in the Fiba Asia Championship against Japan on Sunday when action in the qualifier to the Rio De Janeiro Olympics resumes at the Changsha Social Work Colleges gymnasium after a one-day break.
The Filipinos finished second in Group B behind Palestine with a 2-1 record to end up as the No. 3 team in Group E behind Iran and Palestine. Japan. India and Hong Kong complete the grouping.
Preliminary round results against teams that also qualified would be carried over, giving Gilas an even 1-1 record to start the next round after losing to Palestine and winning against Hong Kong.
The tournament takes a break on Saturday before the 12 surviving teams (six in each group) get their campaign going the following day.
The Gilas-Japan game is set at 4:45 p.m.
After Japan, Gilas takes on defending champion Iran on Monday (11:45) in a rematch of their 2013 Fiba Asia championship duel. The Iranians, bannered by former NBA player Hamed Haddadi, are so far unbeaten in three games and go to the second round carrying a perfect 2-0 record.
The nationals end the second round by taking on India on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
Gilas needs two wins in the second round to guarantee a place in the eight-team, knockout playoffs, although one may suffice depending on the result of the other games and such low seeding may mean a match against either China or Korea in the quarterfinals.
A sweep of the three games - plus a Palestine loss - can give it the top spot heading to the playoffs.
China meanwhile, tops Group F after coming out of the first round preliminary unscathed for a 2-0 record in the next round.
Joining the host country in the group are Qatar, Lebanon, South Korea, Kazakhstan, and Jordan, with the Chinese opening their second round bid by going up against Kazakhstan on Sunday.
Other match ups at the resumption of the tournament are South Korea vs. Lebanon, Qatar against Jordan, Palestine opposite India, and Iran vs. Hong Kong