Gilas Pilipinas will face another tough challenge yet again as the team is set to face New Zealand, India, and rival South Korea.

/ 1 September 2021

Gilas Pilipinas was drawn in Group A, avoiding Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Australia and longtime Asian power China, which were joined by the 2023 World Cup co-host Japan and Chinese Taipei.

The qualifier draw ceremony marked the official start of the road to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.

Despite having already qualified for the World Cup proper, the Philippine-squad will still participate as a preparation for the 2023 event, 

The first round will begin this November, with the next windows in the first round scheduled in February and June-July next year.

The Asian qualifying groups are as follows:

  • Group A: New Zealand, Korea, Philippines, India
  • Group B: Australia, China, Japan, Chinese Taipei
  • Group C: Jordan, Lebanon, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia
  • Group D: Iran, Kazakhstan, Syria, Bahrain

Although the Philippines avoided the ‘Group of Death’ with Australia and powerhouse China, Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin Baldwin warned the qualifiers won’t be any easier for Gilas.

“We’re gonna be very excited to have the opportunity to play New Zealand. I’ve never been to India, and I think Korea will be waiting for us. It should be a great experience. Obviously we’ve lot of preparation to do to get ready for this,” Baldwin bared.

Baldwin said it will be a tough challenge for youthful Gilas which will also face South Korea who is hungry for payback after losing to the Gilas twice in the Asia Cup qualifiers.

“New Zealand is very different than Korea. They have faced one another as we have faced Korea, but I think with New Zealand, there’s not so much familiarity. And they’re a very tough, very physical team,” he said.

“We know Korea is very tough. And I think Filipino fans will be very quickly thumbing through the books trying to find out the book on India as well, and they’re gonna find India has a lot of talent, a lot of size, just not a lot of international experience,” he continued.

“Each team does present something different and I believe that our scouting has to be on point and we got to be ready to dance with whatever opponent, whichever rosters come from these teams, and put our best roster out there.”