By Jonas Terrado
Coach Yeng Guiao is hoping for Gilas Pilipinas to get a favorable draw in the FIBA World Cup in order to have a strong chance of making to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The best-placed Asian team after the Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 world competition is assured of a spot in the Olympics, a doable task if the Philippines can hurdle past its rivals in the group stage.
Two spots each are also given to the Americas and Europe and one each from Africa and Oceania.
Gilas can also get into the Tokyo Games through next year’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, provided the Filipino cagers emerged as the 16 next best teams in the World Cup.
“(Our chances) will really depend on our group kasi kung maganda-ganda yung grupo natin, medyo okay tayo roon,” Guiao said.
(“Our chances will really depend on our group because it will be beneficial for us if we get a favorable bracket.”)
FIBA is scheduled to hold a draw for the World Cup on Saturday in Shenzhen, China, the first step in Gilas’ preparation.
Guiao said Gilas should also be on the lookout on the groupings of the other Asian teams that made it to the World Cup.
Teams that qualified are Iran, Japan, South Korea, Jordan and China, which earned a slot by virtue of being the World Cup host.
Thought securing spots in the World Cup through the Asian Qualifiers, Australia and New Zealand will dispute the lone Olympic berth in the Oceania region.
“Basta ang importante is yung sa March 16 (draw) kung saang group tayo mapupunta. Actually, wag lang natin tignan kung saang grupo tayo but kung saang grupo mapupunta yung ibang Asian teams,” Guiao said.