Gilas Pilipinas is already guaranteed a spot in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, but it is not taking its path to the quadrennial showpiece lightly.
The national team plans to use the Asian Qualifiers to build up momentum as it seeks to put on a show at home as one of the three World Cup hosts alongside Japan and Indonesia.
Finishing dead last in the previous World Cup after a winless stint, Gilas has nowhere to go but up in 2023.
Here are some fast facts about the road to the World Cup:
Bunched in Group A with Korea, New Zealand, and India, the Philippines will enjoy homecourt advantage for its first and second window games.
Originally scheduled to face Korea twice in a home-and-away format on November 25 and 28, the Philippines will instead host all Group A games for the first and second window in February next year.
FIBA decided to postpone all first window games between Group A teams due to travel restrictions in various East and Southeast Asian countries.
That means the Philippines will play four games in the February window: two against Korea, one against India, and one against New Zealand.
In the third window, Gilas will once again lock horns with India and New Zealand on June 30 and July 3, respectively.
It still unknown which players will represent the country in the Asian Qualifiers or whether the national team will retain its all-cadet crew from the Asia Cup Qualifiers.
Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin said there is a possibility that PBA players may once again be included in the mix.
All continental qualifiers – Americas, Africa, Asia and Ocenia, and Europe – will have two rounds that consist of a total of six windows.
In the case of the Asian Qualifiers, 16 nations have been divided to four groups of four teams for the first round, where they will play each other twice in a home-and-away format.
The squad with the worst record will get the boot as the top three teams from each group will advance to the second round.
Afterwards, the 12 remaining teams will be split into two groups of six squads, carrying their records from the first round.
The continental qualifiers will run over a 15-month period from November 2021 to February 2023, half a year before the World Cup comes off the wraps in August 2023.
Who will qualify
Just like the 2019 edition in China, a total of 32 teams will see action in the World Cup in 2023.
Eight slots have been allotted for Asia and Oceania, with two of those reserved for host countries Philippines and Japan.
Although Indonesia will also serve as host, it needs to reach the quarterfinals of the Asian Qualifiers to qualify for its maiden World Cup appearance due to a lower federation rank.
Here are the number of allocated berths for the other continents:
- Americas – 7
- Africa – 5
- Europe – 12