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    Hope endures for Gilas as path to Olympics through Fiba Worlds remains open, for now

    Sep 4, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    WITH the team already out of contention for the second round of the Fiba Basketball World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas is now hoping to qualify in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics through the tournament.

    Seven places in the Olympics are at stake including one spot for Asia with the best placer in the continent in the Fiba Basketball World Cup gaining a ticket to Tokyo.

    Two Olympic spots for Americas, two spots for Europe, one spot for Africa, and one spot for Oceania are also on the line in the World Cup.

    Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao is hoping that the team will still be in contention for the Olympic spot by the end of Wednesday night’s matches. That, however, will only happen if China loses its final match against Venezuela at 8 p.m.

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    Guiao will definitely be waiting for the result of that match which will begin shortly after Gilas’ match against Angola is over.

    “Meron pa tayong hinahabol,” Guiao said. “China is playing the same day we are playing. If they lose, we still have a chance at becoming the best Asian team. We’ll play Iran and another team [in the classification round]. May chance naman tayo sa mga ‘yon.”

    The classification round will have 16 teams grouped into four. They will play two more games against teams which they haven’t faced in the competition. In the case of Gilas Pilipinas, they will be bracketed in Group N along with Angola, and Group C teams Iran and either Puerto Rico or Tunisia.

    The top team in each of the groups will be finishing from 17th to 20th, second ranked team 21st to 24th, and so on.


      Guiao said Gilas Pilipinas will still go out for victories in the following games starting with the match against Angola on Wednesday afternoon as the win-loss records will have an effect on the classification.

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      “I don’t think all is lost at this point. Of course, matutuwa tayong lahat kung naidikit natin ang laban doon sa dalawa [Serbia and Italy]. But at the end of the day, those are still gonna count as a loss. So ang importante, subukan pa natin kung kaya pa nating maipanalo yung natitirang mga laro,” said Guiao.

      “Now if we still let our games down and dwell on that negativity, wala na tayong chance,” he added.

      In the case though that China wins against Venezuela, all is not lost for Gilas Pilipinas in the quest for Olympic berths.

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      Fiba will hold the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQT) from July 6 to 12 with 16 best-placed teams that didn’t qualify in the Olympics through the World Cup being part of the competition. Two nations each from Africa, Americas, Asia, and Europe will be also invited based on several considerations including performance by Fiba in the OQT.

      The 24 teams will be grouped into four, and the six teams will play in a tournament. The top team in each of the four tournaments will move on to the Olympics.

      “Even if China wins and gets to the Top 16, we can improve our world ranking (sa classification phase]. We’ll be fighting for the 17th to 32nd places at nasa 31 tayo sa world rankings, so we can still improve that,” Guiao said.

      “That is still both a goal and an accomplishment,” said Guiao, referring to playing in the OQT.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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