|The new FIBA World Cup format will see Gilas playing formidable opponents like New Zealand more often than before. (file photo)|
By Ivan Saldajeno
LOS BAÑOS--For former NBA star Vlade Divac, the new format for the FIBA World Cup is beneficial for everyone.
In a copy of an open letter that was obtained by Dugout Philippines on Wednesday night, the current Sacramento Kings GM, who starred for the Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the New Orleans Pelicans, formerly the original Charlotte Hornets franchise, said, "I see the new calendar as a win-win for players, fans, national federations, leagues, clubs, for all actors of the game, [and] for the sport we love."
The new FIBA World Cup format includes a qualifying tournament similar to that of the FIFA World Cup, that is, teams will play in two rounds of games in a home-and-away format that will decide which team will join host nation China in the 32-team meet in 2019.
"This system will create synergies with club competitions, helping the whole basketball family," Divac, who was a star for Serbia, formerly Yugoslavia, in international basketball play.
Divac also cited other advantages of the new format, including the reduction of pressure and providing ample time for rest "from an already arduous schedule," a significant reduction of playing days for national team players, an avenue to "create opportunities and help develop new talent by enabling younger players from more countries to play international basketball," and more quality games, which could give players a chance to further hone their skills.
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