THE Philippines is down to its final game in the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers against Kazakhstan on Sunday. With a 6-5 record and in fourth place in Group F, the Philippines is not yet assured of a spot in China where the 2019 Fiba World Cup will be held in August.
Under the competition format, the top three teams in Groups E and F will automatically advance to the World Cup. A seventh Asian team - the best fourth placer from the two groups - will get a chance to compete against the best sides in the world in the quadrennial showpiece.
The Philippines is in fourth place in Group F following its win over Qatar on Friday morning. Following the games, here are the team standings in Group F:
Here are the games on Sunday that have implications on the Philippines' bid:
Lebanon vs. Korea
Iran vs. Australia
Japan vs. Qatar
The Philippines still has a chance to make it outright to the Fiba World Cup. Here’s how.
- The Philippines will automatically advance to the World Cup if it ends up in a tie for third place with Japan due to its sweep of the Japanese in the first round. That will happen if the Philippines beats Kazakhstan, Iran beats Australia, and Japan loses to Qatar.
- The Philippines will advance to the World Cup outright if it ends up in a three-way tie with Iran and Japan. That happens if the Philippines wins over Kazakhstan and Japan and Iran lose their respective matches. Japan will take second spot, while the Philippines gets third place in Group F, with Iran falling to fourth due to an inferior goal difference (11, -5, -6 in that order)
The Philippines will end up at fourth place in Group F if it loses to Kazakhstan. Even if it wins over Kazakhstan, the Philippines will still drop to fourth if Iran loses to Australia and Japan wins over Qatar. In such a scenario, Iran will tie for third with the Philippines but will win the tiebreak by virtue of its 2-0 record against Gilas in the qualifiers.
If it finishes in fourth place in Group F, the Philippines’ fortunes will depend on the result of the Group E games.
As of Friday, here's how things stand in Group E:
New Zealand 9-1
Here are the games in Group E that have implications on the Philippines' bid:
Jordan vs. China (Saturday)
Lebanon vs. New Zealand (Saturday)
Jordan vs. New Zealand
Lebanon vs. Korea
Under the competition rules, China is already guaranteed a spot as World Cup host. That leaves Lebanon and Jordan to fight for the best fourth-placer spot in Group E.
This is where it gets interesting for Team Pilipinas.
The Philippines must have a better record compared to Lebanon or Jordan, or at least have the better goal difference in case the quotient system comes to play, in order to become the best fourth placer in the Asian qualifiers.
One thing going for the Philippines is that Lebanon and Jordan will have tough opponents in New Zealand, Korea, and China, all of which have already qualified for the Fiba World Cup. Upset wins by Lebanon and Jordan, however, will hurt the Philippines' chances of making it to the World Cup.
As things stand, Jordan, at 5-5, is the most vulnerable of the two Group E sides. So if Jordan drops both matches against China and New Zealand, the Philippines will qualify for the World Cup regardless the result of its match against Kazakhstan. If it loses one of the two and the Philippines beats Kazakhstan, the Philippines is still in.
But if Jordan sweeps its two matches and the Philippines wins over Kazakhstan, the battle for the seventh and last Asian spot in the Fiba World Cup will go down to a quotient tiebreak.
So it is imperative for the Philippines to win against Kazakhstan on Sunday. Then it can let its prayer warriors take care of the rest.