With nothing left to play for but pride, the Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team will try to avoid finishing dead last at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
Ahead of their final game against Iran, Gilas Pilipinas still stands winless through three Group Phase games and one Classification Round match.
The Filipinos suffered three blowout losses in that span against Italy, Serbia, and Tunisia, and is still reeling from a heartbreak defeat at the hands of Angola in overtime earlier this week.
The World Cup offers seven of the eight automatic seeds to next year’s Men’s basketball event in Tokyo, each awarded to the best place team from their respective continental zones: two for the Americas, two for Europe, and one each for Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
Japan, as the hosts of the 2020 Games in Tokyo, also gets an automatic berth regardless of where they finish.
Any Philippine hopes to punch a ticket to the basketball tournament of 2020 Summer Olympic Games through this tournament are now gone, after the team missed out on being a part of the top 24 squads in the World Cup.
The next best 16 teams who will not get an outright berth would have been eligible to play in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where there will be four more spots up for grabs to the quadrennial summer event.
Jordan currently has the worst points differential among all teams at -132, while Gilas Pilipinas is not far behind at -127. The Filipinos can avoid falling dead last if they can pull out a win, or if they finish with a better result than the Arabian team in the event both teams lose their final games tonight.
The Philippine team plays their final classification game against West Asian powerhouse Iran tonight at the Mastercard Arena (formerly Wukesong Arena) in Beijing, China.
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