Gilas Pilipinas begins its International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup campaign against powerhouse China in their Group B battle on August 9 in Beirut, Lebanon.
The Philippines and China, finalists in the last FIBA Asia Championships in 2015 won by the latter, will face off at 1:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. Manila time).
After China, the PH 5 will take on Iraq on August 11 at 4 p.m. (11 a.m. Manila time) and close out its Group B campaign against Qatar on August 13 at 4 p.m. (11 a.m. Manila time).
The 16-nation FIBA Asia Cup, a preview of things to come for the new qualifying tournaments for the 2019 World Cup of Basketball in China, will begin on August 8 and end on August 13.
Kazakhstan and New Zealand open up the hostilities in Group C followed by Group D matches featuring Japan-Australia and Hong Kong-Chinese Taipei. Host Lebanon will cap the opening day with a battle against South Korea in Group C.
The top team in each group will advance to the quarterfinals while the second and third placers proceed to the qualification round. The last team after the group phase will be eliminated.
Meanwhile, Gilas 5 will be tested first by the Canadian team in the annual William R. Jones Cup slated on July 15 to 23 in Taipei.
Head coach Chot Reyes announced on Twitter that the PH 5 will meet 3D Global Sports Canada first followed by Taiwan A, Taiwan B, Japan, South Korea, Iraq, Atletas All-Star Lithuania, India and Iran.
3D Global Sports Canada will be bannered by former Houston Rockets’ first-round pick in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 2012 Draft Royce White, who is now playing for the London Lighting in National Basketball League-Canada, and NBA D-League campaigner Michael Kyser.
Reyes has yet to announce the final composition of the Gilas team for the Asia Cup and the Jones Cup although some of the players who will represent the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will be lined up for the two tournaments.