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USA Basketball to play FIBA WC games in PH

Jayson Tatum could be among the players from its 2021 Olympic gold medal team that USA Basketball will retain for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Getty Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--NBA stars are expected to give Filipino basketball fans another reason to flock the Smart Araneta Coliseum, SM Mall of Asia Arena, and the Philippine Arena next year as USA Basketball will play all of its FIBA World Cup games in the Philippines.

As announced by FIBA on Monday, the Americans will be placed in one of the four groups that the Philippines will host in next year's grand spectacular.

USA, which is fielding in players from the NBA G-League for the Americas Qualifiers is currently first in Group F at 8-2, needing only one win in the final window in February to formally book a place in the main tournament.

With the FIBA World Cup coinciding with the NBA offseason, USA Basketball is expected to bring in NBA players for its Final 12.

Meanwhile, Japan has chosen Slovenia as the team the country wants to see action in Okinawa in another group stage play.

This means that the Japanese fans will get to see Luka Doncic again two years after the Slovenians' impressive fourth-place stint in the Tokyo Olympics that helped them go up to number seven in the FIBA rankings.

On the other hand, Indonesia has chosen Canada to be the headliner of its first FIBA World Cup hosting stint.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is making a strong case of earning a place in next year's NBA All-Star Game, will lead the Canadians in the FIBA World Cup.

Meanwhile, FIBA also announced that Gilas Pilipinas, being the main host of the event, will be in Pot 1, joining the highest-ranked qualified teams based on the next FIBA ranking update after the February window of the qualifiers.

With world number two USA expected to stay within the Top 2 in the FIBA rankings after the February window, Gilas and USA will surely be drawn to different groups during the April 29 draw in the Philippines.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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