SEABA champ to be part of "group of death" in FIBA WCQ

The SEABA champion, very likely to be Gilas, is grouped into the potential Asian "group of death" in the FIBA WCQ. (file photo)
By Gil Moriones

MANILA--If the Philippines will clinch the top spot of the SEABA Championship tourney later this month, another fierce action awaits the team on their road to China as they compete for the upcoming FIBA Asia World Cup Qualifiers from November to July next year.

In the official draw on Sunday night in Guangzhou, the Philippines was resided to Group B together with newcomer Australia and their venerable antagonist Japan and Chinese Taipei.

Defending champs China will go through tough battle as they meet its adversary South Korea, Hong Kong and another Asian Qualifier debutant New Zealand in Group A.

West Asian favorites Jordan and Lebanon together with Syria and India are in Group C while the title contender Iran is with Qatar, Kazakhstan and Iraq on Group D.

It will be the first time for Gilas to compete against the 11th-ranked Australia loaded with NBA players Andrew Bogut, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, and Matthew Dellavedova known as the "Boomers". But since the qualifiers is in line with the NBA season, it is expected to diminish their NBA players if possible.

As the World Cup's team participation is expanded to 32, seven slots excluding the host China were allotted for the joint Asia-Oceania zone.

The top three teams from each group in the double round robin, home-and-away first round of the FIBA WCQ will head to the second round, where another double round robin, home-and-away series will take place again.

The top three teams from each second round group will enter the FIBA World Cup proper along with the better team among the fourth placers. Should China, which will host the 2019 edition, make the Top 7, the other fourth placed team will earn the spot.

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