MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas faces a tall order because it tries to qualify for the subsequent spherical and chase an Olympic dream when it hosts Group A within the Fiba World Cup 2023 beginning August 25.
Sixteen of the highest 32 basketball groups are coming to Manila together with the powerhouse staff and favourite United States because the nation hosts the World Cup for the primary time since 1978. However Group A can be crucial pool for the Filipinos as they rally behind the nationwide staff, which is raring to advance to the subsequent spherical.
Group A will kick off the worldwide basketball spectacle at Philippine Area in Bocaue, Bulacan, the place the host nation tries to interrupt the highest attendance record in a Fiba World Cup recreation.
Gilas opens its marketing campaign towards the Karl-Anthony Cities-led Dominican Republic at 8 p.m. after the match between Italy and Angola earlier than enjoying its subsequent matches at Good Araneta Coliseum, the place it battles Angola on August 27 and powerhouse Italy on August 29.
Inquirer Sports activities took a deeper take a look at Group A in a sequence of earlier for the primary spherical of the group stage held in Manila together with the video games at Mall of Asia Area in Teams C and D.
Gilas Pilipinas tries to defy the percentages towards Italy, Dominican Republic, and Angola to achieve the subsequent spherical and emerge because the best Asian team to clinch an outright berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Since returning to the worldwide basketball stage, the Philippines has solely received one recreation — beating Senegal in the 2014 World Cup in Spain — out of 10 matches in its final two appearances, together with a winless stint within the 2019 version in China.
With an opportunity to return to the Olympic stage because the 1972 version in Munich, Germany and internet hosting the Fiba World Cup for the primary time since 1978, Gilas is keen to make historical past in entrance of its house crowd.
Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson is carrying the flag in his first World Cup recreation for the Filipinos and the third time to don the Philippine colours after the 2018 Asian Video games and Asian Qualifier August window final yr, averaging 25.0 factors, 6.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in two video games.
Coach Chot Reyes, who’s making his second World Cup look since steering the staff led by Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro again to the worldwide stage in 2014, may even pin his hopes on new nationwide staff gamers bannered by Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, JuneMar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, CJ Perez, Japeth Aguilar, Roger Pogoy, Calvin Oftana, Chris Newsome, Dwight Ramos, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Ray Parks Jr., and Rhenz Abando.
Gilas, which had completely different compositions in the course of the World Cup qualifying home windows, completed with a 6-4 report, third in Group E of the Asian qualifiers behind New Zealand and Lebanon.
NBA guard Clarkson performed his first tune-up recreation for Gilas, scoring 13 factors to set the tone within the staff’s 85-62 rout of Ivory Coast in a pleasant on Friday evening at Philsports Area, the place Fajardo and Edu in addition to fit-again gamers Sotto and Thompson contributed.
Gilas will play two extra tune-ups towards Montenegro, and Mexico earlier than Reyes and his teaching employees determine on the ultimate 12 for the World Cup beginning subsequent week.
The Philippines additionally had fruitful camps in Europe and China because it completed with a 3-3 report towards groups from Estonia, Finland, Ukraine Beneath-20, and Lithuania choice staff final month and received three of their 4 video games within the Heyuan WUS Worldwide Basketball Match towards Iran and Senegal.
All eyes are on three-time NBA All-Star Karl-Anthony Cities as he represents the Dominican Republic for the primary time in a decade.
The World No.23 Dominican Republic will parade the Minnesota Timberwolves star, who performed 29 video games within the NBA final season, averaging 20.8 factors, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per recreation.
The 7-foot ahead final performed for the nationwide staff within the 2013 Americup, teaming up with captain Victor Liz, Andres Felix, Angel Luis Delgado, Jean Montero, Eloy Vargas, LJ Figueroa, Rigoberto Mendoza, Gerardo Suero, Luis Santos, Antonio Pena, Gelvis Solano, Angel Nunez, and Lester Quinones.
Cities was good as marketed in his first pleasant recreation, scoring 20 factors on 6-of-9 capturing to guide the Dominican Republic’s 94-88 upset of Canada on Saturday.
The Dominicans completed second behind Canada in Group E of the Americas Qualifiers with a 9-3 report together with a 79-75 stunner of final yr’s World Cup runner-up Argentina of their ultimate recreation to qualify to the worldwide basketball stage for the third straight time.
Apparently, Cities and the Dominican Republic are returning to the Philippines for the primary time since 1978 within the former’s maiden look of the World Cup.
The Dominicans will miss NBA gamers Al Horford of the Boston Celtics and Chris Duarte of the Sacramento Kings however Cities’ addition gave them a shot within the arm forward of going through the Gilas Pilipinas on August 25 at Philippine Area.
Within the 2019 World Cup, the Dominican Republic reached the second spherical after upsetting Germany however completed sixteenth after shedding each its second-round video games.
Angola could be the lowest-ranked staff in Pool A however it stays a risk with its hermetic protection.
The No. 41 ranked staff within the World, led by NBA massive man Bruno Fernando, is making its sixth consecutive World Cup look and ninth general. Angola completed second within the 2023 African World Cup qualifiers behind Cote d’Ivoire with similar 8-2 information.
The Black Antelopes certified this yr after limiting their opponents to only 60.5 factors a recreation within the African qualifiers.
In Angola’s ninth World Cup look, coach Josep Claros can be banking on Atlanta Hawks heart Fernando, Jilson Bango, Silvio Sousa Nonetheless, and Childe Dundao to go deeper on this yr’s international match, searching for to surpass their twenty seventh place in China final 2019.
Nevertheless, the African staff has been struggling just lately because it completed with a 2-3 report in tuneup video games in Jordan final July and fell to Japan in a pocket match, the place it’s going to additionally battle France and Slovenia in friendlies, 5 days in the past.
In going through the Philippines, historical past is on the facet of Angola because the Black Antelopes handed a heartbreaking 84-81 defeat to Gilas, led by Fajardo, Ravena, and Perez in extra time to win considered one of its three matches in Group C of the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
Italy emerges because the staff to beat in Group A with its stacked roster led by Utah Jazz ahead Simone Fontecchio, who emerged because the squad’s dependable scorer of their previous three main tournaments within the qualifiers, EuroBasket, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In its bid to return to the highest 4 for the primary time because the 1978 version in Manila, the Azzurri is bringing the 6-foot-7 shooter Fontecchio, who was instrumental for the Jazz in his first NBA season, averaging 6.3 factors on 33.0 p.c three-point capturing in 52 video games performed.
Apart from the 27-year-old winger, Italy coach Gianmarco Pozzecco can be banking on the lone holdover from its 2019 World Cup staff Luigi Datome, who performed for the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons within the NBA for 2 seasons, in addition to Marco Spissu, Nicolo Melli, Gabriele Procida, Matteo Spagnolo, Achille Polonara, Giampaolo Ricci, and Stefano Tonut.
The Italians will miss Washington Wizards ahead Danilo Gallinari, who suffered an ACL harm earlier than the 2022-23 NBA Season, and former Golden State Warriors participant Nico Mannion however the core of the squad remained intact, which completed 8-2 within the qualifiers behind reigning World Cup champion Spain.
Italy is trying to surpass its Tenth-place end within the 2019 World Cup in China, the place it bombed out of competition within the second spherical ending third in Group J behind Spain and Serbia.
The Azzurri blasted Gilas, bannered by holdovers Fajardo, Ravena, and Perez, with a 108-62 blowout within the preliminary spherical.
Italy swept 5 tune-up video games at house earlier than going through Brazil and China in two extra friendlies forward of their World Cup marketing campaign in Manila.
Closing 12: Marco Spissu, Luigi Datome, Mouhamet Diouf, Simone Fontecchio, Steano Tonut, Nicolo Melli, Alessandro Pajola, Achille Polonara, Gabriele Procida, Giampaolo Ricci, Luca Severini, Matteo Spagnolo
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