Who will Gilas Pilipinas play in the FIBA World Cup?

The Official Draw of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup is set for 2am Philippine time on Tuesday, February 4

GILAS' COMPETITION. The Official Draw for the FIBA World Championships will determine which teams Gilas Pilipinas will play in the tournament's preliminary round. File photo from Smart-Gilas Pilipinas official Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Who will the Philippines play in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain?

We’re about to find out.

The Official Draw of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup is set for Monday, February 3 at 7pm Central European Time (2am Philippine time on Tuesday). The draw will dictate the fate of the Philippines, as it groups which teams will play each other in the Preliminary Round of the tournament.

The 24 teams that qualified have been evenly distributed in 6 teams pots based on their FIBA ranking and geographic locations. During the draw, these teams will be placed into 4 different groups: A, B, C and D. Each group will have 6 teams each.

The numbers the teams draw tomorrow will determine the position of the team within their Preliminary Round group, as well as the schedule of the games.

Screenshot from official FIBA website

Based on the competition’s rules, the top-ranked teams – USA, Spain, Argentina and Lithuania – will be distributed in 4 different groups. Top-ranked USA will be in Group C, second-ranked Spain will be in Group A, while Argentina and Lithuania will be drawn into either Group B or Group D.

The Philippines will be drawn to compete in one of those groups.

The other competing teams are African titlists Angola, Egypt, Senegal, Americas champions Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Iran, South Korea, European winners France, Croatia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Serbia, and Oceania region Australia and New Zealand.

Brazil, Finland, Greece and Turkey round up the 24, after they were awarded the wild card slots.

After the draw and when all teams have been assigned to a group, FIBA will assign a group to play in one of the following cities: Bilbao, Gran Canaria, Granada and Seville. The preliminary round will take place from August 30-September 4.

The Final Round will be played in the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona and in the Palacio de los Deportes of Madrid from September 6-14.

Incomplete line-up

The FIBA Basketball World Cup, also known as the FIBA World Championship from 1950 until 2010, is the flagship event of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

In August, Gilas Pilipinas qualified for the finals for the first time in 35 years, after gallantly defeating long-time tormentor Korea 86-79 in front of a jam-packed Mall of Asia Arena filled with enthusiastic Filipino fans. The Philippines finished second in the 27th FIBA Asia Championship, second only to Iran.

The final Gilas Pilpinas 24-person line-up has yet to be finalized, but the 12 already on the roster that cannot be changed are Jayson Castro, Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Gary David, Japeth Aguilar, Junmar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, Ranidel de Ocampo, and naturalized player Marcus Douthit. All were members of the silver medal-winning team.

PBA top rookie pick Greg Slaughter, Kelly Williams, Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz are the other players that head coach Chot Reyes wants to be part of the 24-player pool.

The Spain-bound team will be getting a full month and a half of training and preparations for the tournament after the PBA announced Thursday, January 30 that it will be shortening its current season schedule to finish in mid July instead of the original August 13.

Reyes, who is already in Barcelona for the draw, has been tweeting photos of the FIBA facilities in Spain, admitting in one tweet he is praying for a good FIBA draw. – Rappler.com

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