‘Not ideal,’ PH coach says of FIBA World Cup group

‘Not ideal,’ PH coach says of FIBA World Cup group

MANILA – Fans engaging in online and offline discussions overnight believe Gilas Pilipinas has a decent shot at hurdling past the first round of the FIBA World Cup.

Gilas was drawn with Dominican Republic, Italy, and Angola in Group A following the group draw on Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

However, Gilas coach Chot Reyes downplayed the potential “easiness” of the group.

“This is the World Cup so there is no such thing as an easy draw,” Reyes said, even calling it “not ideal.”

He said Ivory Coast would have been the better pick rather than Angola.

“I would have hoped that the last pick could have been Ivory Coast instead of Angola because I thought Angola was the tougher team — not that I mean Ivory Coast is weak by all means,” Reyes further said.

But now that the draw is done, Reyes said “it is what it is.”

Now that Gilas knows who join them in Group A, the final preparation begins for the tournament co-host.

“The good thing is that now, we have some clarity on who we’re playing with and what kind of preparation is necessary to be at our best,” Reyes further said.

The next step, according to Reyes, is to build the roster that at least could hang on against the likes of Karl Anthony Towns.

“The next phase is to take a look at the teams that we’re playing and to build a team and select players hopefully that we think can be able to compete with the players that we know who are going to be in the other teams,” Reyes said.

The World Cup tips off Aug. 25 and ends Sept. 10.

Groups A, B, C and D will play in the Philippines (Philippine Arena, Smart Araneta Coliseum, Mall of Asia Arena); Group E and F in Okinawa, Japan; and Group G and H in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Indonesia did not qualify after missing out on at least a quarterfinal spot in the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup in Jakarta.

‘The Passion Wave’

Meanwhile, at a viewing party of the draw at a mall in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, the international basketball organization FIBA unveiled the World Cup’s official ball, “The Passion Wave” by Molten.

“People have different passions, so we express it through this ball,” Molten official Nao Naritaka explained the reason behind the ball’s name.

Among the unique features of the design are gold-colored hearts, which resemble the heart-themed logo of the World Cup.

“Gold is attractive to everyone,” Naritaka said.

Only 500 Passion Wave balls have been manufactured for the World Cup, but Naritaka said Molten will continue the production of the balls post-tournament. (PNA)

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