THERE will be no collision between powerhouse Team USA and Gilas Pilipinas in the preliminary round of the 2014 Fiba-World Cup in Spain.
The Filipinos avoided being bracketed with Lebron James and Co. after ending up in Group B during the official draw for the tournament held early Tuesday morning (Manila time) at Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona.
Joining the Philippines in its group is former Olympic champion Argentina which could feature NBA stars Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola, Croatia, Greece, Puerto Rico, and Senegal.
Argentina is currently ranked no. 3 in the world, Greece is at no. 5, Croatia at 16th, followed by Puerto Rico at 17th.
Senegal is the only country ranked lower than the Philippines (34th) in Group B at 41.
The Philippines will be playing in the city of Seville.
Coach Chot Reyes was able to tweet in his account@coachot during the draw how he hoped Gilas landed in Group C where there are teams which he felt can be beaten by the Nationals.
“Sayang! The 2 teams I felt kaya natin - Ukraine & Finland nasa Group C. Would've loved to be in that group. Basta #LabanPilipinas #PUSO!” Reyes wrote.
Puerto Rico finished second in the Fiba-Americas while Argentina, Senegal, and Croatia finished third in their respective continental championships.
Greece is one of the four wildcard entries in the World Cup.
The draw ended months of anticipation for the Filipinos on whether they may end upplaying against a star-studded US team made up of NBA superstars in the preliminaries.
The Philippines also missed the chance of playing against host Spain, the former champion which is also expected to be bannered by several NBA players such in Pau Gasol, Mark Gasol, Ricky Rubio, and Serge Ibaka.
United States and Spain were earlier bracketed in Groups A and C in order to avoid an early clash between the top two teams in the world based on Fiba rankings.
Completing the groupings are:
Group A – Spain, France, Egypt, Iran, Serbia, and Brazil
Group C – USA, Finland, New Zealand, Ukraine, and Dominican Republic, Turkey
Group D - Slovenia, Lithuania, Angola, Korea, Mexico, Australia