GILAS Pilipinas' journey in the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup just got a lot much tougher.
Losing to Lebanon, 95-80, on Wednesday complicated the Philippines' road to the quarterfinals, making the Group D game against India a must-win tiff.
See In face of defeat, Chot encouraged by bench-led Gilas fightback
The top three teams in the pool advance to the playoffs, and the 15-point defeat to the Cedars has dented the chances of of Gilas earning the top seed and booking an outright quarterfinal berth.
The Filipinos must now win one, if not both, of their games against India on Friday and New Zealand on Sunday to even have the chance to be in the mix.
But the road will only get a lot more tougher from there.
Gilas hopes to get back on track.
Early clash vs Japan or Iran
If the Philippines wins only one game and finishes third in Group D, there's a high chance that it will be in a collision course against the Group C's No. 2 which would either be Japan or Iran.
Akatsuki Five have been impressive with former Toronto Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe leading the charge, while the Iranians remain dominant with Hamed Haddadi still going strong at 37 years of age.
If the Philippines miraculously gets through that challenge, waiting in the quarterfinals will be Group A's top seed, which right now is looking more and more to be defending champion Australia.
It's a tougher road to be in, which emphasizes the importance of Gilas' games against the Indians and the Tall Blacks.
Coach Chot Reyes remains confident.
An easier route?
A relatively easier road for the Philippines necessitates a sweep of the next two games and find a way to secure the No. 2 seed in Group D, which would mean a playoff duel against the Group C's No. 3-seed, which could either be between Kazakhstan and Syria.
In this scenario, Gilas hurdling one of those teams would set it up against Korea, Group B's likely top-seed in the quarters.
Before they can think too far in advance though, the Philippines must find a way to win one game or else, get the boot as early as the group stages.
To cut the long story short, the Pinoys have their work cut out for them.