Mindanao Times

Gilas keeps slim Olympic hopes alive after China 2nd loss


FOSHAN, China—The Philippine­s' fading hopes of securing a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics got a boost after China suffered another defeat in the 2019 FIBA World Cup on Wednesday night, relegating the host nation to the classifica­tion phase.

China lost to Venezuela, 72-59, in Beijing, giving them a 1-2 win-loss record in Group A and sending them to the classifica­tion phase for 17th to 32nd places in the tournament.

Had China won, the team would have advanced to the second round and secured its spot in next year's Olympic Games as the best Asian team in the tournament. Japan, which currently has a 0-2 record in Group E, has clinched its berth as the host.

With China's defeat, however, the Philippine­s can still wind up as the best-performing Asian team in the World Cup.

But Gilas Pilipinas cannot afford anymore losses, and must beat Iran and Tunisia in its Group N games to keep its bid alive. Moreover, the Filipinos must hope that the other Asian countries in the classifica­tion phase — China, Jordan, Iran, and South Korea — also drop their matches.

If the Philippine­s does not end up as the highest-ranked Asian team in the World Cup, Gilas can still compete for a spot in Tokyo through an Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

To do so, Gilas Pilipinas can finish no lower than second in Group N, as only the 16 best remaining teams in the World Cup will be assured of spots in the OQTs. Otherwise, Gilas will need a wildcard berth to one of the four qualifying tournament­s.

The four OQTs will be held in June 2020, with the winners joining Japan and the qualifiers from the World Cup to the Olympic Games.

In 2016, the Philippine­s hosted an OQT at Mall of Asia Arena but failed to win a single game. France wound up punching its ticket to the Rio Olympics via the Manila qualifier. ABS-CBN News

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