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Gilas suffers final blow after missing out on OQT slot

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By Jonas Terrado

Gilas Pilipinas missed out a chance to play in next year’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament despite staying at No. 31 in the latest world rankings released by FIBA on Thursday.

Gilas Pilipinas players sing the national anthem before a FIBA World Cup game. (Photo from fiba.basketball)

Gilas Pilipinas players sing the national anthem before a FIBA World Cup game. (Photo from fiba.basketball)

China and South Korea gained the two wild card entries allotted for Asia in the OQT, formally ending the Philippines’ quest to compete for a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

The Chinese moved three spots higher at No. 27 while the Koreans improved to No. 30 in the world after gaining two places and overtaking the Philippines in the process.

Both teams gained the slot for being the two best Asian teams that failed to directly qualify for the Olympics or the OQT.

The failure to even make the OQT became the final consequence of Gilas’ dismal campaign in FIBA’s showpiece tournament that saw the Filipino cagers lose all five games by an average margin of 29.4 points.

Gilas’ woes prompted coach Yeng Guiao to tender his resignation upon the team’s return from China.
A replacement is still being discussed by officials at the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, though the possibly of hiring a European coach is being mulled.

The Philippines hosted one of the four OQT sites in 2016, with Gilas losing all two matches against France and New Zealand at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Meanwhile, the United States remained the world’s highest ranked team despite finishing seventh in the World Cup.

World Cup champion Spain closed in on the US at No. 2 while Australia jumped to third despite failing to secure a podium finish.

Runner-up Argentina and third placer France completed the top five.

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