|An early finals rematch against China awaits Gilas in the FIBA Asia Cup. (file photo)|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--An early acid test against China awaits Gilas at the start of its FIBA Asia Cup campaign in Beirut on Aug. 9.
In a copy of the official schedule attained by Dugout Philippines early Saturday, Gilas will take on China in a rematch of the 2015 final in the very first game of Day 2 of the competition on the said day at 6:30 p.m. (Philippine Time).
Gilas will then take a day off before facing Iraq next on Aug. 11 at 9 p.m. (Philippine Time).
Gilas will cap its first round campaign against Qatar on Aug. 13 at 6:30 p.m. (Philippine Time).
The top team in each of the four groups in the preliminary phase will move on to the quarterfinals outright, while the second and the third placed teams will slug it out in the crossover wildcard playoffs to determine the other four quarterfinalists. Gilas, China, Iraq, and Qatar are in Group B.
Starting this year, the FIBA Asia Cup is now a standalone tournament for bragging rights as the best team in Asia.
All the 16 participating teams will play as well in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, a separate tournament that will run until 2018 that will determine who will join host country China as Asia's representatives to the FIBA World Cup in 2019.
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