GILAS Pilipinas will have an uphill climb in the group stages of the 2019 Fiba World Cup as it was slotted in Group D in the draw on Saturday at Shenzhen, China.
Awaiting the Philippines are Olympic silver medalist Serbia, European contender Italy, and 11-time Afrobasket champion Angola in pool play.
Gilas will see action at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center for the global hoops tilt in August.
Only the top two teams in each group will advance to the next phase.
Serbia is expected to field Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia 76ers behemoth Boban Marjanovic, while Italy is poised to parade Los Angeles Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari and San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli in the World Cup.
The Philippines failed to progress in the 2014 staging in Spain after the Chot Reyes-coached crew finished with a 1-4 win-loss record. They toppled Senegal, 81-79, to finish their schedule with a victory.
Here are the full groupings for the first round:
Group A: Ivory Coast, Poland, Venezuela, China.
Group B: Russia, Argentina, Korea Republic, Nigeria.
Group C: Spain, Iran, Puerto Rico, Tunisia.
Group D: Angola, Philippines, Italy, Serbia.
Group E: Turkey, Czech Republic, USA, Japan.
Group F: Greece, New Zealand, Brazil, Montenegro.
Group G: Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Jordan.
Group H: Canada, Senegal, Lithuania, Australia.