Gilas Pilipinas will participate in the 2017 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Champions Cup on September 22 to 30 in Chenzhou in China as part of the national team’s build up for the upcoming FIBA World Cup qualifiers in November.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios confirmed on Tuesday that the Philippines will join the club tournament that will feature defending champion China Kashgar, which will parade Gilas naturalized player Andray Blatche as its import.
“We will join the tournament and coach Chot Reyes will form the team anytime soon. The only thing that I can confirm is that we’re going to compete there,” Barrios told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
Reyes first broke the news in his Twitter account on Tuesday.
Gilas Pilipinas, according to team manager Butch Antonio, is a late addition to the tournament.
“We are still talking to the organizer since our team is a late inclusion in this tournament. For the line-up, we will submit it the soonest,” said Antonio.
Aside from China Kashgar, the other participating teams are Al-Riyadi of Lebanon, BC Astana of Kazakhstan, Mono Vampire Basketball Club of Thailand, ONGC of India, Petrochimi of Iran, Saryyet Ramallah of Palestine, Shabab AlAhli-Dubai of United Arab Emirates and Taipei Dacin Tigers of Taiwan.
The Philippines hosted the same tournament six years ago at Philsports Arena in Pasig City with Al Riyadi of Lebanon emerging as champion beating Mahram Tehran, 91-82, in the finals.
The Philippines last won the Champions Cup in 1996, when Hapee beat Isuzu Lynx (77-74) in Manila. The country has four FIBA Asia Champions Cup titles.