FIBA World Cup

FAST FACTS: Gilas Boys ready for big stage in FIBA U17 World Cup

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FAST FACTS: Gilas Boys ready for big stage in FIBA U17 World Cup

DRIVE. Kieffer Alas in action for Gilas Boys against China in the 2023 FIBA U16 Asian Championship.


Kieffer Alas and the Gilas Pilipinas under-17 team look to make a strong push against the world’s best in the FIBA U17 World Cup

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine basketball youth team looks all set to challenge the world’s formidable squads. 

Led by Kieffer Alas, the Gilas Boys set their sights on the 2024 FIBA U17 World Cup, aiming to pull off upsets in Istanbul, Turkiye (Turkey) from June 29 to July 7. 

The young Filipinos, who claimed a spot in the world stage after finishing fourth in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship last year, have been working tirelessly since March under coach Josh Reyes.

Back to join Alas are fellow top performers Kurt Nathan Velasquez, Joaquin Ludovice, and CJ Amos as the Gilas Boys aim to punch higher than their No. 25 world ranking.

Elijah Mark Williams, Edryn Morales, and Irus Chua round out the squad along with Bonn Ervin Daja, Paul Cyron Diao, Jaime Lorenzo Gomez de Liaño, Samuel Alegre, and Noah Matteo Banal.

Key dates

The  Gilas Boys’ World Cup journey begins with matches against contending teams in Group A in the first three days of the tourney, starting with seventh-ranked Lithuania on Saturday, June 29.

A match against world No.2 Spain on Sunday, June 30, comes next, before the Gilas Boys end the group phase against Puerto Rico on Tuesday, July 2. 

The next scheduled games in the knockout phase will be based on the results of the group stage. 

Teams to beat

As the Philippines battle it out in Group A with powerhouses Spain, Lithuania, and Puerto Rico, Group B also features juggernauts in No. 1 USA, No. 3 France, China, and Guinea. 

Host country Turkiye begins its campaign in Group C along with Argentina, New Zealand, and Italy, while Australia, Germany, Canada, and Egypt clash in Group D. 

For the Gilas Boys, Spain stands as the biggest threat in the group stage as the young Spaniards finished runner-up to the US in the 2022 U17 World Cup held in Malaga, Spain. 

Lithuania is also tipped a contender in their group after placing fourth in the 2022 edition, while Puerto Rico also ranks higher than Gilas at 15th in the world rankings.

Tournament format

The 16 teams’ groupings were determined through a draw held on March 27, 2024 in Istanbul.

After the single round-robin group stage, the top two teams in each group will take on the lower-ranked teams from another group in a crossover knockout stage. 

The winners advance to the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals, as the losers get relegated to the classification stage. – Jorge Marion Dionisio/Rappler

Jorge Marion Dionisio is a Rappler intern.

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