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Gilas, Korea renew rivalry in qualifiers

by Waylon Galvez

Gilas Pilipinas renews its rivalry with South Korea after both teams were drawn in the same bracket for the qualifying round of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup.

The national team and Korea are in Group A of the Asia Cup together with Thailand and Indonesia.

Former national team player Jimmy Alapag represented the country during the draw held over the weekend in Bengaluru, India.

In the Asia Cup two years ago in Beirut, Lebanon, the Philippines lost to Korea during the quarterfinal round, 118-86. The national team finished seventh overall after beating Jordan in the classification match.

Defending champion Australia is in Group C with New Zealand, Hong Kong and Guam, while 16-time champion China is in Group B with Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and Japan.

Iran, which lost to Australia in the gold medal round of the 2017 Asia Cup, is in Group E with Syria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, while in Group D are Lebanon, India, Bahrain and Iraq, and bracketed in Group F are Jordan, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Palestine.

The tournament format will have teams play in home-and-away games, which is similar to the World Cup format.

Meantime, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio has been elected second vice president of the FIBA Asia Central Board during the General Assembly of the association in Bengaluru, India.

The election Panlilio to the FIBA’s Central Board in Asia is the testament of the country’s strong relationship with the Asian federation under Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani of Qatar.

The Qatari officials retained his post as president of FIBA Asia.

“First of all, thank you for the privilege and recognition of being voted as Second Vice President for the FIBA Asia Central Board,” said Panlilio in a statement Tuesday following the event held June 8 and 9.

“I wish to thank FIBA Executive Director for Asia, Hagop Khajirian, for the support,” he added. “I am looking forward to working even more closely with Hagop.”

Former NBA player and Hall of Famer Yao Ming of China has been voted chairman of the FIBA Asia Central Board.