THE Philippines takes on Kazakhstan today, looking to nail a victory that will boost its bid for a second straight Fiba World Cup appearance at the Mall of Asia Arena.
As far as the Philippines’ campaign in the 2019 Fiba World Cup qualifiers is concerned, the Filipinos need a win or two to earn a ticket to the China joust.
If the Filipinos beat the Kazakhs in the 7:30 p.m. game, the Filipinos would keep themselves in top three in Group F, and that is even if fourth-running Japan sweeps its last two outings.
But if they beat the Kazakhs, as well as Iran on Monday also at the MOA Arena, the Filipinos, in the words of national coach Yeng Guiao, ‘would be putting one foot into the World Cup.’
“If we win two games, I think we’ll have one foot into the World Cup,” said Guiao.
But at this juncture though, Guiao said the Nationals will have to deal first with the task at hand, and that is beating the Kazakhs, probably to unload some pressure going into the game against the Iranians on Monday on same time.
“We have to win to stay at third. And even if Japan wins its next two games, we’ll still be ahead,” explained Guiao.
The Filipinos will be in trouble in the event they lose this one against Kazakhstan and Japan wins against Qatar.
Going into this fifth and penultimate window of the 2019 Fiba WC qualifiers, the Filipinos are running third in Group F with 5-3 win-loss slate, next to second-running Iran (6-2) and pacesetting Australia (7-1), with Japan closely following them with 4-4 record.
The top three best- placed teams from Groups E and F and the best 4th-placed team in the second window shall qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.
Based on Fiba.com posting, to determine the final standings of the Asian Qualifiers, the Fiba Basketball World Cup 2019 Host, China, shall not be included. However all results related to the previous games of China in the relevant group shall be taken into account for the final standings.
The going though is apparently getting tougher for the Filipinos as the tournament progresses. Good thing though, the coaching staff led by Guiao has maintained positive outlook.
Guiao himself has promised his 12-man team built around triple towers in June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, will give its best, having seen the team’s potential during its series of tune-up games.
“We won one and lost three, but I’m pretty satisfied,” said Guiao, referring to the Nationals’ tune-up games with Jordan and Lebanon earlier.
“I know that we can still improve. The room for improvement is really big. We need to adjust,” said Guiao.