Chot Reyes eyes Asia teams in Fiba World Cup with Olympic dream in mind
MANILA, Philippines — Besides looking at the Gilas Pilipinas’ group, coach Chot Reyes was also observing the pool of other Asian teams as country’s goal is also to become the last team standing from the continent to qualify in the Paris Olympics 2024.
The Philippines, headlining Pool A, will be playing against the Dominican Republic on August 25 at Philippine Arena, then Angola on August 27 before wrapping up its first-round campaign against Italy on August 29 both at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Reyes, who is heading into his second World Cup appearance since 2014, said Gilas Pilipinas also want to be the best-performing Asian team to qualify for the Olympics.
32 nations. Only 1 can be crowned champions 🏆
Are you ready world? 🔥#FIBAWC x #WinForAll pic.twitter.com/qLHHwHhVRI
— FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🏆 (@FIBAWC) April 29, 2023
“I was also looking at the other groups because it’s important that our other Asian competitors are in tough groups because the best Asian teams are the one that goes to the Olympics,” the Gilas coach said after the draw. “As much as I was looking at our group, I was also looking at what the other Asian teams drew as well because that’s gonna determine who is the best place Asian team. Remember our objective here is to get to the Olympics in 2024.”
“That’s the goal, that’s the dream. Hopefully, we can get a win or two in this World Cup to give us a chance to qualify for the Olympics,” he added.
China is slated in Group B with Serbia, Puerto Rico, and South Sudan at the Big Dome.
Japan will host Australia, Germany, and Finland in Group E in Okinawa, while Iran is in Group G with defending champion Spain, Brazil, and Cote D’Ivoire in Jakarta, Indonesia. Lebanon will also play at Indonesia Arena, slated in Group H with Canada, Latvia, and France
Reyes admitted, though, that the path is “very very tough” for Gilas Pilipinas to emerge as the top-performing Asian team and return to the Olympics for the first time since the 1972 Munich games.
“This is the World Cup so there’s no such thing as an easy draw. But the best way I can categorize it not ideal, it could have been better. I would have hoped that the last pick would have been Ivory Coast instead of Angola because I thought Angola was the tougher team not that Ivory Coast is weak by any means. Other than that you know, it is what it is,” he said.
The first two rounds of the World Cup group stage are set from August 25 to September 4 in Manila, Okinawa, and Jakarta.
The Final phase–from the quarterfinals to the Final–is set at Mall of Asia Arena from September 5 to 10.
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