The Philippine national men’s basketball team Gilas Pilipinas eyes its first Olympic basketball appearance since 1972 as Manila hosts one of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament starting July 4 to 10.
The draw held on Wednesday, January 27 (Tuesday, January 26 in Switzerland) puts the Philippines in collision course against heavyweights 5th ranked France, 8th ranked Turkey, 21st ranked New Zealand, 26th ranked Canada, and 31st ranked Senegal. The Philippines, ranked 28, beat Senegal during their inaugural meeting at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
The teams will be divided into two brackets of 3 each and play against each in the preliminaries on July 5, 6, and 7. The top two placers advance to the knockout semifinals on July 9 with the finals slated on July 10. The winner qualifies for the men’s basketball tournament at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August. The Gilas Pilipinas settled for silver in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship and lost the chance for an automatic berth.
The two other qualifying tournaments will be held in Belgrade in Serbia and Turin in Italy.