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 crew and favourite United States because the nation hosts the World Cup for the primary time since 1978. However Group A will probably be an important pool for the Filipinos as they rally behind the nationwide crew, 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 best attendance report in a Fiba World Cup sport.
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 taking part in its subsequent matches at Sensible Araneta Coliseum, the place it battles Angola on August 27 and powerhouse Italy on August 29.
Inquirer Sports activities took a deeper have 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 chances towards Italy, Dominican Republic, and Angola to achieve the subsequent spherical and emerge as the most effective Asian crew to clinch an outright berth within the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Since returning to the worldwide basketball stage, the Philippines has solely gained one sport — beating Senegal within 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 for the reason that 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 sport 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 crew led by Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro again to the worldwide stage in 2014, may also pin his hopes on new nationwide crew 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 totally 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 sport for Gilas, scoring 13 factors to set the tone within the crew’s 85-62 rout of Ivory Coast in a pleasant on Friday night time 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 crew final month and gained 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 sport.
The 7-foot ahead final performed for the nationwide crew 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 sport, scoring 20 factors on 6-of-9 taking pictures 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 sport to qualify to the worldwide basketball stage for the third straight time.
Curiously, 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 dealing with 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 will be the lowest-ranked crew in Pool A but it surely stays a menace with its hermetic protection.
The No. 41 ranked crew within the World, led by NBA huge man Bruno Fernando, is making its sixth consecutive World Cup look and ninth total. Angola completed second within the 2023 African World Cup qualifiers behind Cote d’Ivoire with equivalent 8-2 data.
The Black Antelopes certified this yr after limiting their opponents to simply 60.5 factors a sport within the African qualifiers.
In Angola’s ninth World Cup look, coach Josep Claros will probably be banking on Atlanta Hawks heart Fernando, Jilson Bango, Silvio Sousa Nonetheless, and Childe Dundao to go deeper on this yr’s international match, looking for to surpass their twenty seventh place in China final 2019.
Nonetheless, the African crew 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 would additionally battle France and Slovenia in friendlies, 5 days in the past.
In dealing with the Philippines, historical past is on the aspect 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 certainly one of its three matches in Group C of the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
Italy emerges because the crew 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 for the reason that 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 % three-point taking pictures in 52 video games performed.
In addition to the 27-year-old winger, Italy coach Gianmarco Pozzecco can also be banking on the lone holdover from its 2019 World Cup crew 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 damage 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 rivalry 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 dealing with Brazil and China in two extra friendlies forward of their World Cup marketing campaign in Manila.
Ultimate 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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