Losing to Iran could sink Gilas Pilipinas to last place

BEIJING, China – Rock bottom awaits Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup if it wraps up its campaign without a single win. 

The Philippines must pull out all the stops against Iran in their classification round match at the Wukesong Arena on Sunday, September 8, to at least have a chance of avoiding a last-place finish in the 32-nation joust. 

Sitting at 4th place in Group N with a 0-4 card, the Philippines is in danger of ending the tournament at the cellar since the 4th placers from each of the 4 classification groups will be ranked from 29th to 32nd places. 

The standings will be decided by their win-loss record, but if a tie ensues, it will then be determined by the higher point difference of all games and followed by the higher number of points scored in all games. 

As things stand, all 4th placers from the other 3 classification groups – South Korea, Japan, and Jordan – are also winless in 4 games. 

Jordan has the lowest point differential with -132, followed by the Philippines (-127), Japan (-115), and South Korea (-86).

In order to avert a crash to the basement, Gilas Pilipinas should beat Iran to hike its record to 1-4 and hope that at least one from Japan, South Korea, and Jordan remains without a victory. 

South Korea faces Ivory Coast for its final World Cup match on Sunday, while Japan tangles with Montenegro and Jordan clashes with Senegal on Monday, September 9. 

If Japan, Jordan, and South Korea all triumph in their respective games, the Philippines will then have its fingers crossed that it does not wind up with the lowest point differential among all 4th placers. 

A loss to Iran, however, would mean the Philippines needs at least one from Jordan, South Korea, and Japan to stay winless and finish with a lower point differential.

What now if the Philippines slips to 32nd place in the World Cup? 

Its chances of landing a spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan will further be dented. 

With the best finishing World Cup teams – two each from the Americas and Europe and one each from Asia, Ocenia, and Africa – and host country Japan qualifying directly for Tokyo, only 4 Olympic berths remain. 

Vying for those spots are the 16 best non-qualifying teams from the World Cup and two additional teams per region (Africa, the Americas, Asia-Oceania and Europe) in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The 8 additional teams –  those which have not qualified for neither the Olympics nor the Olympic Qualifying Tournament – will be determined by the new FIBA world rankings that will be released after the World Cup. 

Already out of contention to become one of the 16 best non-qualifying World Cup teams, the Philippines' only chance of securing a place in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament is by placing as high as possible in the world rankings. – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.