Gilas Men officially out of Olympic contention after SoKor moves up in FIBA rankings

Gilas Men kissed their 5-on-5 Olympic hopes for next year goodbye. Rick Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Gilas Pilipinas Men's ugly stint in the FIBA World Cup just bore another repercussion.

On Thursday, FIBA announced that China and South Korea will be the two wildcard teams that will represent Asia in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year.

The selection was based on the latest FIBA rankings that was also released within the day.

South Korea overtook Gilas Men in fifth place among the Asia-Pacific region, jumping two spots to 30th overall.

Gilas Men, on the other hand, remained at number 31 despite finishing dead last in the FIBA World Cup.

But with South Korea becoming the second best Asia-Pacific team among those who did not qualify for either the Olympics outright or the OQT via the FIBA worlds, South Korea earned the spot in the OQT via the wildcard route.

That means Gilas Men will have to wait for another four years to get a shot at returning to the 5-on-5 Olympic tournament after last competing there in 1972.

However, there is still a chance that the Philippines would see Summer Olympic basketball action again, and that is through the 3x3 path.

Pending the number of 3x3 points the Philippines will get at the conclusion of the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Magiting Cup, Gilas 3x3 is currently at number 25 in the men's rankings, only below Belarus in the Top 24.

The said 3x3 tournament will hold its finale on Friday at the SM Megamall Events Center in Mandaluyong.

Meanwhile, Gilas 3x3 is now inside the women's rankings at number 24.

The top three countries other than Japan in the FIBA 3x3 rankings for both genders by Nov. 1 will earn outright seats along with Japan to the inaugural Summer Olympic 3x3 event in Tokyo.

The next 20 teams will play in an OQT of their own to determine the other qualified teams.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno