Gilas Pilipinas' Olympic bid still alive as China gets boot

FOSHAN, China – The last Asian team standing also got the boot. 

China failed to reach the next round of the FIBA World Cup, leaving the host to join all other Asian teams – including Gilas Pilipinas – in the classification stage.

The development gave the still winless Gilas a glimmer of hope as the Philippines can still have a crack at the top Asian team honor, which comes with an outright berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The best finishing teams in each FIBA zone qualifies directly to the Olympics: Asia (1 team), Europe (2 teams), Americas (2 teams), Oceania (1 team), and Africa (1 team). 

China got eliminated after ending its campaign with a 59-72 loss to Venezuela on Wednesday, September 4, for a 1-2 slate in Group A .

Hours earlier, the Philippines also lost in overtime against Angola, 84-81, to finish winless in Group D.

Only the top two teams in each group will advance to the next round. 

A victory would have propelled China to the second round and made it not just the best Asian team in the global hoops tilt, but also an Olympic qualifer for the Summer Games. 

But with China also out, the Philippines, Jordan, South Korea, and Iran – which have all gone winless in their respective groups – are still in the running for that feat. 

Japan, which dropped its first 2 games in the group stage, already secured a seat in the Olympics as host country. 

Gilas Pilipinas, though, needs to win its matches against Tunisia and Iran in the classification round in Beijing and hope that the rest of the Asian teams lose their remaining two games.

If that plan does not pan out for the Philippines, it must then finish within the top 24 in the World Cup to assure itself a place in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where 4 countries will earn Tokyo slots. 

The Olympic Qualifying Tournament will consist of 16 non-qualifying teams from the World Cup and an additional two teams from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. –

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.