MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas might sit out and give up its slot in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament, national team chief patron Manny V. Pangilinan said Sunday, October 4.
In a report by Mikkel Bolante of InterAksyon.com, the business tycoon bared he thinks the Philippine team should look at the bigger picture beyond the 2016 tilt, where 3 wildcard tickets to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are up for grabs.
“My view is that, I’m not saying we will get chosen for the wild card, but frankly my view is that we should opt out of it,” Pangilinan was quoted as saying.
“And plan further ahead towards 2017 when the pre-qualification games are started to get played for the 2019 World Cup. We should prepare better for that.”
(READ: Malacañang congratulates Gilas Pilipinas on silver medal finish)
As part of the final four of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, the Philippine national men’s basketball team is qualified for the FIBA tournament happening from July 5 to 16. (READ: Clarkson promises ‘road to redemption’ with Gilas in 2016)
The tournament will see 18 national teams from FIBA’s primary events divided into 3 competitions of 6. The winner from each tilt, for a total of 3 countries, will qualify for Rio 2016.
(READ: What happens to to Gilas’ Olympic dream?)
The Philippines fell short of clinching the outright Olympics berth by failing to win the FIBA Asia gold medal when they lost to Asian powerhouse China on Saturday, October 3.
(IN PHOTOS: Gilas stumbles vs China in FIBA Asia final)
In the same report, Pangilinan also stressed Gilas should follow the example of China in terms of early preparations. The Chinese kicked off preparations for FIBA Asia as early as the summer.
“The Chinese team we saw was vastly improved from where it was only about two years ago. We should think the same way as they do. Prepare forward,” he said.
The next continental cage war in 2017 will be the start of an all new FIBA calendar where FIBA Asia, which will serve as a qualifier for the 2019 World Cup, will be stretched out over two years that includes home and away games. (READ: FIBA Asia 101: A guide to the Olympic qualifier in China)
Teams from FIBA Asia and FIBA Oceania will also merge in one Asia-Pacific zone. – Rappler.com
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