Fiba Asia: Philippines draws group B along with Palestine, Kuwait
Gilas Pilipinas drew inclusion in a very light group for the first round of the Fiba Asia Championship, the qualifier for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics in Brazil.
Automatically seeded to Group B, the Philippines will have Palestine, Kuwait and the East Asian champion, who could either be Mongolia or Hong Kong, relative lightweights in the sport in the region.
Only one slot will be up for grabs for Asia, meaning only the champion in the tournament slated to be held in Hunan, China, will punch a ticket to play in the Olympics against the best countries in the world.
The draw was held Saturday night in China.
China, the host, was awarded the privilege to choose its group and will be playing in Group C together with Korea, Jordan and Singapore, a rock-solid bracket which the Chinese chose to clash with early and avoid late in the tournament.
Tournament format calls for each team to play its groupmates once with the top three in each bracket advancing to join the top three in another to form another group.
The Philippines is expected to easily make the top three in Group B, which will merge with Group A to form Group E. Group A members include powerhouse Iran, Japan, Malaysia and the South Asian champion.
Group D is composed of Chinese-Taipei, Lebanon, Qatar and Kazakhstan, the top three of which will join the top three coming from China’s group to comprise Group F.
The second round will be another round-robin among six teams, their records in the first round carried over, with the top two from Groups E and F advancing to play in the cross-over Final Four.
The Philippines finished second to Iran in the last Fiba Asia Championship held in Manila in August 2014 to earn a ticket back to the World Championship in Spain. CFC
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