Photo credit: Canada Basketball Twitter page
Gilas Pilipinas now has a chance of securing a spot in the Tokyo Olympics after New Zealand's national federation withdrew from the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia that took place from June 29 to July 1.
In light of the withdrawal last February 26, FIBA tapped the Philippines, which is the next best team from the Asia-Oceania Region based on the FIBA World Rankings, to take New Zealand's place in the competition. Gilas will be part of Group A, along with the Dominican Republic and host country Serbia.
Photo credit: FIBA Media Twitter page
The last time the Philippines competed in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Gilas lost both of its games (against France and New Zealand) during the preliminary round of the competition, which was interestingly held at the Mall of Asia Arena. Now, Gilas has a shot at redemption. Let's see if the Philippines qualifies for the Olympics in basketball.
On February 27, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) released a statement about the news. SBP president Al Panlilio said "it is truly a welcome development" and that the federation is "happy that Gilas Pilipinas Men will be given a chance to compete for a spot in the Olympics."
Photo credit: Samahang Basketbol ng Pilpinas Website
The question on everyone’s mind: Who will make up the Gilas Pilipinas team that will compete in the FIBA OQT. Who would your choices be? Should Kai Sotto play for Gilas now that he's no longer with Ignite?