Gilas Pilipinas bracketed with defending champion China in Fiba Asia group phase
Gilas Pilipinas will play champion China in the group phase of the 2017 Fiba Asia. Jerome Ascano

GILAS Pilipinas has been bracketed with reigning champion China in Group B of the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup at the end of the draw ceremony in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Philippines and China will be joined by Middle East countries Qatar and Iraq in the first phase of the August 8 to 20 Asian showpiece in the Lebanese city.

Interestingly, China and Gilas were the top two teams at the end of the last Fiba Asia Championship in 2015 in Changsa, China, where the hosts beat the Philippines, 78-67, in the finals.

Powerhouse Australia, meanwhile, will make its debut in the Fiba Asia this year with a stint in Group D where it will face East Asian nations Japan, Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei.

New Zealand, another Oceania country, found itself in Group C with Kazakhstan, Korea, and Lebanon, which as host country had the option of choosing which bracket to play in.

Group A is composed of 2013 champion Iran, Jordan, Syria, and India.

According to Fiba, the top three (3) teams from each group then advance to the second phase where they will be they be divided into two groups (E & F).

The knockout format will be used from the quarterfinals onwards.

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