Gilas opens FIBA Asia Cup campaign vs rival China

MANILA — An early acid test awaits Gilas Pilipinas as it faces China at the start of its FIBA Asia Cup campaign in Beirut, Lebanon on August 9.

A copy of the official schedule obtained by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) early Saturday, says Gilas will take on China in the very first game of Day 2 of the competition at 6:30 p.m. (Philippine time) on August 9.

Gilas will face Iraq next at 9 p.m. (Philippine Time) on Aug. 11 before capping its first-round campaign against Qatar at 6:30 p.m. (Philippine Time) on August 13.

The top team in each of the four groups in the preliminary phase will move on to the quarterfinals, while the second and the third placers will slug it out in the crossover wildcard playoffs to determine the other four quarter-finalists. Gilas, China, Iraq, and Qatar are in Group B.

Starting this year, the FIBA Asia Cup becomes a standalone tournament for bragging rights as the best team in Asia.

All the 16 participating teams will play as well in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, a separate tournament that will run until 2018 to determine who will join host country China as Asia’s representatives to the FIBA World Cup in 2019. Ivan Saldajeno/