A CLASH with China still looms in the horizon for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 Fiba-World Cup after the longtime Asian power applied for one of the four wildcard berths for the world championship tilt in Spain.
China is one of 15 countries vying for wildcard berths to complete the 24-team field that includes the Philippines in next year’s world cage tournament slated August 30 to September 14.
Others which beat the October 30 deadline for the application were Asian team Qatar, African nation Nigeria, European squads Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Poland, Russia, and Turkey, and Americas’ Brazil, Venezuela, and Canada.
Fiba will reveal the four teams during its central board meeting on February 1-2 in Barcelona, a day before the draw for the 2014 Fiba World Cup.
China never had the chance to face Gilas Pilipinas in this year’s Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Manila after it was booted out by Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinal round. The Yi Jianlian-led squad eventually finished in fifth place, a development that made headlines back home.
The Philippines took advantage of China’s early elimination by defeating Korea in the semifinals to book a slot in the Fiba-World Cup. Gilas Pilipinas eventually settled for silver after losing to Iran in the battle for the gold.
Korea claimed the bronze medal and the final Asian berth in Spain.
The Fiba central board is expected to trim the shortlist during its next meeting in Buenos Aires this month where several factors will be taken into consideration, among them the popularity of the sport in the country, quality of the national team, and commitment of the best players in the country.