Familiar rivals for Pinoys in FIBA World Cup

April 30, 2023 Robert Andaya 475 views

THE Philippines makes its much-awaited return to the world’s biggest basketball stage when it takes on world No. 24 Dominican Republic in the 2023 FIBA World Cup scheduled on Aug. 25-September 10.

The Filipinos, who are hosting the prestigious competition for the third time, will open their campaign against Dominican Republic on Aug. 25 at the Philippine Arena.

The Chot Reyes-mentored team will play No. 42 Angola on Aug, 27 and No.10 Italy on Aug. 29, both at the Araneta Coliseum.

The composition of the groups were determined following the draw ceremony held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last Saturday.

The FIBA World Cup draw was graced by NBA legends like Dirk Nowitzki of Germany, Yao Ming of China, and Luis Scola of Argentina.

Nowitzki is also a FIBA Central Board Member and Chair of the FIBA Players’ Commission.

Among those present during the draw were the FIBA Central Board, headed by FIBA President Hamane Niang and FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis, local ambassadors and special guests from the host nations, as well as representatives from participating national federations.

Also part of the ceremony were live performances from global hip-hop artist Saweetie and Filipino favorites Sarah Geronimo and Billy Crawford.

The Philippines is co-hosting the event with Japan and Indonesia.

As two of the co-hosts, the Philippines and Japan were allocated early into groups.

The United States, Canada, and Sloveniawere also assigned into groups prior to the draw since the host nations picked them as “preferred countries: to play in their respective venues.

The complete groupings:

Group A — Angola, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Italy.

Group B– South Sudan, Serbia, China, Puerto Rico.

Group C– USA, Jordan, Greece, New Zealand.

Group D — Egypt, Mexico, Montenegro, Lithuania.

Group E — Germany, Finland, Australia, Japan.

Group F — Slovenia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Venezuela.

Group G– Iran, Spain, Cote d’Ivoire, Brazil

Group H– Canada, Latvia, Lebanon, France.

Based on official schedule released by FIBA, the first four Groups (A, B, C, D) will be played at the Araneta Coliseum and the the Mall of Asia Aren in Manila.

Teams in Group E and F will play in Okinawa, while teams from Group G and H will see action in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Among the NBA stars expected to play in Manila are Nikola Jokic of Serbia, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, Karl Anthony-Towns and Al Horford of Dominican Republic, Domantas Sabonis of Lithuania, Danilo Gallinari of Italy, Nikola Vucevic of Montenegro and Wenyan Gabriel of South Sudan,

All eight NBA players could play in Manila after their countries were bracketed in Groups A to D.

In Group A, the Philippines will be facing familiar opponents in the World Cup.

The last time Gilas met Italy and Angola was the 2019 World Cup held in Foshan, China in 2019.

The Filipinos also played Dominican Republic in the 2021 Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Tokyo in Belgrade, Serbia.

The best placed Asian team at the end of World Cup will get an outright ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympiad.

Among the Asian countries in the tournament, China and Iran were bracketed in relatively easy groups.

No. 27 China is with No. 6 Serbia, No. 20 Puerto Rico and No. 62 South Sudan in Group B, while No. 22 Iran is with No.1 Spain, No. 13 Brazil and No. 42 Cote d’Ivoire.

No. 33 Jordan, however, was drawn in the so-called “Group of Death” with the No. 2 USA, No. 9 Greece and No. 26 New Zealand in Group C.
Japan and Lebanon also face a tough time.

The Japanese drew tough opponents in No. 3 Australia, No. 11 Germany, and No. 24 Finland in Group D.

Lebanon is also facing a herculean task with No. 5 France, No.15 Canada and No. 29 Latvia in the same Group H.