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Gilas takes New Zealand's place in FIBA Olympic qualifiers
Gilas Pilipinas will go through the eye of the needle as they compete for the lone berth to the Tokyo Games at stake in the Belgrade qualifying meet.
FIBA.com

Gilas takes New Zealand's place in FIBA Olympic qualifiers

Olmin Leyba (Philstar.com) - February 26, 2021 - 8:52pm

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas got one last shot to make it to the Tokyo Olympics.

This after the International Basketball Federation named the Philippines as replacement for New Zealand in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament slated in Serbia from June 29-July 4.

World No. 25 New Zealand withdrew from the qualifiers and the Philippines, as the next best team from the Asia-Oceania region at 31st, was tapped to take over the slot.

Gilas will go through the eye of the needle as they compete for the lone berth to the Tokyo Games at stake in the Belgrade qualifying meet.

The Filipinos will take on powerhouse rivals Serbia and Dominican Republic in Group A. The Serbians are the fifth ranked nation in the world that previously dealt Gilas a 126-67 beating when they faced off in the group stage of the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The Dominicans are ranked 12 places higher than the Philippines in the global totem pole.

The Filipinos need to finish in the Top 2 of the group to advance to the crossover semis against the first and second placers of equally tough Group B. Puerto Rico (No. 18), Italy (No. 12), and Senegal (No. 35) make up the other side of the bracket.

Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio was elated to hear the news.

"This is truly a welcome development and we are very happy that Gilas Pilipinas Men will be given a chance to compete for a spot in the Olympics. So when New Zealand withdrew, we were the next highest ranking country in the world that earned the spot," Al Panlilio told The STAR.

Winner of this OQT joins the other previously qualified teams in Japan.

FIBA GILAS
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