Gilas Pilipinas is set for another duel with old rival South Korea after being drawn in Group A of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers which starts in November.
New Zealand and India will also take part in the group which was determined following a draw ceremony held Tuesday, Aug. 31 at the FIBA headquarters in Mies, Switzerland.
The Philippines will still participate in the qualifiers despite being assured of a slot in FIBA’s centerpiece event as one of the hosts.
But Gilas is set to use the competition to hone its skills for the 2023 event, beginning with the first round of the qualifiers that will be held for three windows set this November, Feb. 2022 and June 2022.
“The fact that the Philippines qualified for the 2023 FIBA World Cup doesn’t mean that we should not try, because it makes the team better if they compete as if they haven’t qualified,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan.
On tap are games against a crack New Zealand squad ranked 25th in the latest FIBA world rankings, India and the South Koreans who are no stranger to Gilas.
Gilas currently holds bragging rights against South Korea after winning their two meetings in the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers held last June in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The top three teams advance to the second and final phase of the qualifiers along with the top three squads in Group C composed of Jordan, Lebanon, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
Second round matches are again divided into three windows scheduled Aug. 2022, Nov. 2022 and Feb. 2023.
The results of the draw prompted Gilas to avoid facing crack teams Australia, China and Japan, which will compete in Group B with Taiwan.
Group D will have Iran, Kazakhstan, Syria and Bahrain.