By MARK REY MONTEJO
Gilas Pilipinas has improved to No. 38 from 40th in the latest FIBA men’s world rankings.
The improvement – leapfrogging Europe’s Belgium (39) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (40) – was attributed to Gials’ 24th place finish in the recently concluded 2023 World Cup which the country co-hosted with Indonesia and Japan.
But the sad news is that five other Asian countries are ranked way head of Gilas Pilipinas despite its massive win over China, 96-75, in the classification round of the global showpiece.
The vastly-improving Japan emerged as the best in the region after moving up to No. 26 followed by Iran (27), Lebanon (28), China (29) and Jordan (32).
Interestingly, the Nationals and the Jordanians are bracketed in the same elimination group in the coming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
In beating China, the Nationals secured a spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for Paris Games in 2024.
Meanwhile, the United States reclaimed the top spot, leading 8 points over Spain followed by world champion Germany, Australia, silver medalist Serbia, semifinalist Canada and Argentina.
Meantime, Latvia made a huge leap in the global rankings as it clinched the eighth spot with Olympics host France and Lithuania completing the top 10.