THE battle lines in the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 have been drawn, with the Philippines set to play New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong in Group B following the draw held at the Ezdan Palace Hotel in Doha, Qatar.
Of the three, only New Zealand is ranked higher than the Philippines at No. 21 in the world.
The Philippines stis at no. 38 in the world followinfg the FIBA World Cup 2023 held in Manila and two other asian cities early this month.
Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong are ranked No. 78 and No. 119, respectively.
As per FIBA, teams will play each other twice over three windows, with the top two earning automatic qualification to the Asia Cup, which is scheduled in 2025.
The three windows will be played in February 2024, November 2024, and February 2025.
The Filipinos are hoping to redeem themselves following a dismal showin gin the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 where they failed to reach the quarterfinal stage and finished only ninth — the country’s worst showing in the last 15 years.
But beating all three Group B rivals are easier said than done for the FIlipinos, especially against the Tall Blacks, who have dominated them in the international stage.
Although Chinese-Taipeiis ranked lower at No. 78, the team had made significant improvements over th eyears.
Hong Kong is also expetce dto put up a good showing.
The complete groupings:
Group A – Australia, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia
Group B – Philippines, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong
Group C – China, Japan, Mongolia, Guam
Group D – Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Iraq
Group E – Iran, Kazakhstan, India, Qatar
Group F – Lebanon, Syria, UAE, Bahrain.
Set to be played in a home-and-away format,the top two teams from each group will advance.
Meanwhile, the third-placed teams from each of the six groups will duke it out for the last four Asia Cup spots to complete the 16-team cast.
Among those present during the draw in Doha were Gabe Norwood of Gilas Pilipinas and Hamid Haddadi of Iran.